MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- Merchant Marines aboard the dry cargo ship USNS William Mclean (T-AKE 12) successfully rescued two sea turtles from abandoned fishing nets Feb. 3 in the Arabian Sea.
William Mclean’s crew discovered the turtles while on routine patrol and deployed a small boat and crew to investigate. Ships routinely post lookout watches to ensure marine life is not endangered during operations.
The boat crew found the sea turtles ensnared in the nets, with ropes coiled around their necks and each fins. Unlike other turtle species, sea turtles can't retract into their shells, leaving them vulnerable to entanglement in marine debris.
The ship’s small boat and rescue team located the turtles with assistance from watch standers on the bridge. Working together, the boat crew and a rescue swimmer were able to untangle the turtles from the nets and set them free.
"It was the right thing to do and it felt great to see those two turtles swim away, free of the fishing nets," said Brandon J. Varner, captain of William Mclean.
William Mclean is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and Pacific through the Western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.