Washington: US forces have rescued six more Iranian sailors in distress after freeing 13 Iranians from pirates earlier this week, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

The rescue took place several hours before dawn on Tuesday morning. US Coast Guard cutter Monomoy rescued the six Iranians from the disabled cargo dhow Ya-Hussayn in the North Arabian Gulf, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said on Tuesday.

'This is consistent with meeting our obligations to rescue vessels in distress,' said Little.

At about 3 a.m., Monomoy was hailed by flares and flashlights from the Ya-Hussayn, according to a US Naval Forces Central Command statement, as reported.

The dhow's master requested assistance, indicating the engine room was flooded and the vessel was not seaworthy.

The Monomoy's small boat rescued two people from the vessel and four from a life raft tied off the dhow's stern, officials said.

Aboard the Monomoy, an emergency medical technician treated an injured crew member, and the others received water, blankets and halal meals, which are prepared according to Islamic law and stored aboard US Coast Guard ships for Muslim mariners in distress, according to the Pentagon.

A civilian interpreter aboard Monomoy made initial contact with the Iranian Rescue Coordination Centre to report Ya-Hussayn's status and to coordinate the Iranian mariners' transfer from Monomoy to shore.

At 4.30 p.m., the six mariners were transferred by rigid-hull inflatable boats from Monomoy to the Iranian coast guard vessel Naji 7. Through a translator, the Naji 7's captain sent his regards and thanked the Monomoy's captain and crew members for taking care of the Iranian sailors.

Monomoy is supporting maritime security operations and security cooperation in the US 5th Fleet area of responsibility, which includes the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea and the coast off East Africa as far south as Kenya, said the Pentagon.

A team from the guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd, part of the USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, rescued a 13-member Iranian crew on Jan 5 from 15 suspected pirates who had been holding the crew hostage on the Iranian-flagged Al Molai for several weeks. 

(Agencies)