MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- Following Motor Vessel Faina's release by Somali pirates Feb. 5, the U.S. Navy is providing humanitarian assistance support to the merchant vessel and its crew.
Sailors from the Norfolk-based destroyer, USS Mason (DDG 87), went aboard Faina to conduct a health and comfort inspection of the crew as well as provide Faina's crew with food, water and medical support. The U.S. Navy fleet ocean tug USNS Catawba (T-ATF 168) also provided fuel and fresh water to the merchant vessel.
Faina is currently anchored off the coast of Somalia, near Hobyo, and is making engineering preparations to get underway.
Somali pirates released the Motor Vessel Faina after holding it for more than four months. The U.S. Navy has remained within visual range of the ship and maintained a 24-hour, 7-days a week presence since it was captured.
Motor Vessel Faina was attacked off the coast of Somalia Sept. 25. The roll-on/roll-off ship is Belize flagged and operated by "Kaalbye Shipping Ukraine."
While the ship initially had had a crew of 21, the ship's captain reportedly suffered a heart-attack shortly after being taken hostage. The pirates refused all requests to turn over the captain's remains. The ship's remaining crew includes 17 Ukrainian citizens, as well as two Russians and one Latvian.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusnc/.