A Navy Riverine Command Boat like the ones detained by Iran. Navy photo
A Navy Riverine Command Boat like the ones detained by Iran. Navy photo

Ten sailors reportedly from a San Diego-based unit safely returned to Navy authority Wednesday after being released from an Iranian base on a small island in the Persian Gulf.

Several news sources said the sailors and their patrol boats were from Coastal Riverine Group 1 based in San Diego.

The Navy said there were no indications that the sailors were harmed during their brief detention.

“I am pleased that ten U.S. Navy sailors have departed Iran and are now back in U.S. hands,” said Defense Secretary Ash Carter. “I want to personally thank Secretary of State John Kerry for his diplomatic engagement with Iran to secure our sailors’ swift return.

“Around the world, the U.S. Navy routinely provides assistance to foreign sailors in distress, and we appreciate the timely way in which this situation was resolved,” Carter added.

The sailors departed Farsi Island at 8:43 a.m. GMT Wednesday aboard the two Riverine Command Boats that they had been taking from Kuwait to Bahrain when they entered Iranian waters.

The sailors were later flown ashore by Navy aircraft, while other crews took charge of the boats and continued toward Bahrain.

The Navy said it will investigate the circumstances that led to the sailors’ presence in Iranian waters.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.