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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 August, 2004, 21:51 GMT 22:51 UK
US navy rescues Iranian boatmen
US Navy aircraft carrier
The Iranians were fed and treated aboard the aircraft carrier
A US naval ship in the Gulf has rescued six Iranian sailors from their sinking vessel, the US navy's Fifth Fleet says.

The navy's John F Kennedy aircraft carrier despatched helicopters to winch the Iranians to safety after receiving a distress signal from their boat.

The six sailors had a medical check and a meal aboard the US ship before being put on an Iranian boat passing nearby.

The US and Iran do not have diplomatic relations and recent dealings between the two have been marked by suspicion.

The Iranian dhow, named the Naji, had a broken propeller seal which was letting in water, the US navy spokesman said.

Lt Bill Speaks said he believes the vessel to which the six men were transferred took them to an Iranian port.

The fate of the Naji is not known.

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