Brussels:  A NATO warship rescued an Iranian-flagged vessel over the weekend just days after the vessel was freed from pirates by another NATO ship, the military alliance stated.

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

 The 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 Italian warship "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 January 7 by a Danish warship.