Ten crew members of two U.S. Navy vessels were picked up by the Iranian Coast Guard on Tuesday while in the Persian Gulf.
Iranian state-run FARS News reported the two vessels were two kilometers (1.2 miles) inside Iranian territorial waters. Nine men and one woman are being held, according to EA Worldview.
The incident occurred while the two crews were trying to sort out mechanical trouble with one of the boats near Farsi Island, in the middle of the Persian Gulf.
U.S. officials told the Associated Press Tuesday that both crews and vessels were being held by Tehran.
However, “We have been in contact with Iran and have received assurances that the crew and the vessels will be returned promptly,” said Pentagon spokesperson Peter Cook.
A senior American official said Secretary of State John Kerry “personally engaged with [Iran’s foreign minister Mohammed Javad] Zarif on this issue to try to get to this outcome.”
The boats were in the process of traveling between Kuwait and Bahrain when the U.S. lost contact with them. The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain.
Farsi Island is home to an Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps base, EA Worldview reported.
Senior U.S. military officials said the boats were on a training mission Tuesday night when one vessel lost power and drifted into Iranian territorial waters.
One official said the Iranians ‘understand the territorial incursion was not deliberate’ and have agreed to release the Americans in international waters within hours.
“We subsequently have been in communication with Iranian authorities, who have informed us of the safety and well-being of our personnel.
“We have received assurances the sailors will promptly be allowed to continue their journey,” the unnamed American official said.
Less than a month ago, Iran fired a rocket towards U.S. vessels passing through the Strait of Hormuz.Hana Levi Julian