Two small US Navy boats were seized by the Iranian Coast Guard on Tuesday after they entered Iranian waters. US officials have said that the two ships were on a training mission when one of them experienced a mechanical failure, and drifted into Iran’s highly restricted Farsi Island before running aground. According to Pentagon Spokesman Peter Cook, the ships were moving between Bahrain and Kuwait when the Navy lost contact with them. The vessels have been described as riverine command boats, which are lightly armed, and typically used to patrol rivers, lakes, and coastal waterways.
The boats and their crew, which includes 10 sailors, are currently being held at an Iranian naval base on the Farsi Island in the middle of the Persian Gulf. US officials have claimed that they don’t know how the ships got there, or if they were captured before or after they fell into Iranian waters. According to White House spokesman Josh Earnest “At this point, we’re still monitoring the situation and it’s not entirely clear what happened.”
Shortly after the incident, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Iran’s Foreign minister to seek the release of the sailors. By all accounts, Tehran has assured the US that the sailors are safe, and that the ships will soon be returned to US custody with their crews, though a precise time-frame has not been confirmed.
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