140210-N-IZ292-113 NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY BAHRAIN (Feb. 10, 2014) Electronics Technician 2nd Class Andrew Garcia, right, and Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Chris Stout handle a line while a coastal command boat is lifted from the pier in preparation to lower into the water. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Felicito Rustique/Released)

NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY BAHRAIN (Feb. 10, 2014) Electronics Technician 2nd Class Andrew Garcia, right, and Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Chris Stout handle a line while a coastal command boat is lifted from the pier in preparation to lower into the water. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Felicito Rustique/Released)

Two US boats reportedly run aground on Iranian island due to mechanical failure, 5 sailors on board taken in custody by Iranians who promise to return boats and crews promptly. Among the sailors taken into custody are nine men and one women. Within 18 hours, at around 6 AM US Eatern on the 13th, it was reported the sailors were freed, but not the boats.


The incident was first reported to US Secretary of State John Kerry, at 12:30 PM on January 12, 2016, who called Iran’s Foreign Minister, a man who he is said to have warm relations with, and he was assured that the crews and vessels would be promptly reutrned. However, it was nearly 18 hours later that the sailors were freed while the boats remained in Iranian custody.

The incident occured as the two small boats were patrolling the Persian/Arab Gulf near the Iranian held Farsi Island, which sits in the middle of the Gulf at the more northern end. The island holds a naval base from whence the Iranian Revolutionary Guards debauch often to harrass shipping and naval vessels. It is a 4.5 square mile island.

According to reports, the two boats were on patrol when one or both experienced a mechanical failure, causing both, ultimately drift into Iranian waters, although initially it was reported they beached themselves on the island. They were met by Iranian Guards who detained the crews and took custody of the boats.

The Iranians claimed that the  USS Truman and the Charles de Gaulle (French) carriers were near the area when the US boats were being seized “near Farsi island” and that the crew were “sound, kept in a proper place and treated in an Islamic manner.” The Iranians further claimed, “American boats were armed with three heavy guns, patrolled about 2 km inside Iran’s territorial waters before being detained.” Later the US would apology for the incident, without having received back the vessles

It was reported that the two vessels were en route from Kuwait to Bahrain on a training exercise which, while not a short distance, would have required a larger vesesel than a simple Launch or other small boat. Navy sources claim these vessels were 38 foot Riverine Patrol Boats.

The Navy has deployed a new type of vessel which, while it has a crew of 10, operates from Bahrain, is capable of going into blue water, and would generally be likely to be transiting from Kuwait to Bahrain. The vessel arrived in Bahrain in February of 2014 and is one of the only, if not THE only, vessles that could transit from Kuwait to Bahrain over open water with such a small crew.

Here is a Youtube of about the Vessel-


This is what the Navy said about this vessel-

NAVAL SUPPORT ACTVITY BAHRAIN (NNS) — The Coastal Command Boat (CCB) arrived in its homeport of Bahrain Feb. 8.

The CCB, a one-of-a-kind platform, was originally built in Washington in 2011 and is assigned to Commander Task Group (CTG) 56.7 of Commander Task Force (CTF) 56.

As the first and only vessel of its kind, some of the CCB’s capabilities include increased payload capacity for maritime interdiction operations (MIO), Sea Ports of Debarkation (SPOD) defense, Sea Lanes of Communication (SLOC) control, and other littoral and coastal maritime missions. The CCB can reach speeds in excess of 35 knots, as well as enter well-deck modes for transportation. She can also function as a platform for various unmanned vehicles.

Cdre. Joseph A. DiGuardo Jr., commander, Task Force 56, said the CCB has a range of more than 500 nautical miles. Having such an extended range, more so than current patrol and riverine boats, will allow the CCB to be more of a centerpiece in “blue water operations,” that take place at a greater distances from land.

“It greatly improves our ability to reinforce blue water operations to a much greater extent than we have been able to,” said DiGuardo. “The CCB gives us that greater reach with more speed and longer time on-station. It gives us a greater capability to dominate the littorals and give the 5th Fleet commander more options to achieve his objective.”

With the CCB comes many new things for the crew to learn.

“Everything about this boat is an upgrade from previous boats I’ve been on,” said Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Aaron Braithwaite, a Sailor from the CCB’s 25-man hybrid crew consisting of Reserve and active duty Sailors. “But once you grasp the concept, it’s real easy. It’s modern and efficient, and the morale here is real good with everyone doing their part.”

The new Coastal Command Boat was also to be joined by new Mk. VI patrol boats being built by Safe Boats International, the same company that built the CCB, these being 85 feet ling to the CCB’s 65 feet, and being commanded by the same. It is possible that both a CCB and a Mk IV, or two Mk IV’s, are now in custody, giving the Iranians a boon of intelligence.

This boon to Iranian intelligence, allowing them access to sophisticated US technologies and possibly other intelligence that might be on those vessels, has not been much discussed as major new are focused on the sailors who, as of 7 PM US Eastern on January 12, 2016 were scheduled, according to US officials, to be released “at daybreak” Iranian time. They were released the following morning. However, even thoug the sailors were released, the access the Iranians have to these vessels is in fact problmenatic, though how severe depends on what vessels were actually taken into custody.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard may be trying to derail the nuclear deal, according to some observers, and may be reacting today’s sentencing to death of a Kuwaiti national, who was present at court, and an Iranian, in absentia, for spying for Iran and Hezbollah. The incident’s details being disputed, it canot be easily discerned if in fact these vessels have drifted into Iranian waters, allegedly due to an engine failure on the part of one vessel, instead of being siezed outside of Iranian waters.

7:32 PM  UPDATE- Pentagon officials have confirmed to news outlets that the US Sailors are set to be released within hours. They will be taken, it is reported, to the USS Truman, thus confirming earlier claims by the Iranians that the two vessels were operating in the vicinity of the USS Truman. This also raises the question about forece security and surveillance and what led to the incident in the first place.