MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- The crew of a U.S. Navy ship saved 30 men, women and children off the coast of Somalia March 25.
USS McFaul (DDG 74), an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer on a seven-month deployment in the Gulf of Aden, was conducting a routine patrol about 100 miles off Somalia's north coast in support of counterpiracy operations when the crew spotted a small skiff.
The 30 people on board had been stranded with no food and very little water for nearly four days since departing the Somali coast. The skiff had suffered engine failures in both outboard motors.
"Once we recognized there was no threat, noticeable engine failure and lack of food and water, it was evident they desperately needed our help," said McFaul's boarding officer.
An embarked translator facilitated communication between the Somali mariners and the boarding team.
The McFaul crew immediately took the Somali mariners on board and prepared to return them to their homeland, offering them a place to sleep, blankets, water and food to make them feel as comfortable as possible for the two-and-a-half-day journey back to Somalia.
Abdulrahman Ali Barhaaye, one of the elders rescued from the skiff, offered thanks.
"We gave up hope until we saw you," said Barhaaye. "We are alive, hopeful and glad to be here."
Helping the Somali mariners became a shipwide event, whether repairing the skiff's engines or supplying the rescued mariners with food, water, shelter, life jackets and blankets.
"This was a rewarding experience," said one of the boarding team members. "They appreciated our efforts and were very thankful."
McFaul returned the 30 Somalian mariners safely ashore March 27 with their repaired skiff at the small fishing village of Ceelaaya, Somalia.
McFaul is assigned to Combined Task Force 151, which is a 24-nation task force, which was established in January 2009, to conduct counterpiracy operations.
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