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NATO warship assists Iranian dhow: statement


09:47, January 17, 2012

BRUSSELS, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- A NATO warship rescued an Iranian-flagged dhow over the weekend just days after the vessel was freed from pirates by another NATO ship, the military alliance said on Monday.

The rescue operation came amid heightened tensions between Tehran and some western countries over Iran's nuclear program.

The Italian warship ITS Grecale provided help to the Iranian vessel, which had reported an engine failure and was dead in the water, NATO said in a statement.

The Italian warship gave the five Iranian and nine Pakistani crew members food and water and worked through the night to fix the engine, but failed, the statement said.

"The engine was too badly damaged to repair at sea," it said.

"NATO offered to transfer the crew to the closest port, but they chose to stay with their vessel," it added. The Itanlian war ship "is remaining in the area to monitor the situation, ready to provide further assistance if required."

The ship had been freed from suspected Somali pirates on Jan. 7 by a Danish warship.


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