San Diego-based warship rescues fishermen in Indian Ocean

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SAN DIEGO — The crew of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage resumed a voyage back to its San Diego home port Thursday after pausing to assist six fisherman stranded aboard a powerless Sri Lankan-flagged boat in the Indian Ocean.

The Anchorage, part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group, has been deployed to the Middle East since May.

The M/V Lakshan was spotted early Wednesday afternoon, and Anchorage sailors determined there had been a crank case explosion that prevented the engines from working, according to the Navy.

“Once our Rescue and Assist Team determined the vessel was dead in the water and 300 miles from land with no food or water, it was obvious that the crew was facing a life or death situation,” said Capt. J.J. Cummings, commanding officer.

“Giving them assistance became our number one priority, and we were not going anywhere until we had full confidence that the crew was safe,” Cummings said. “Our sailors instantly flexed from underway operations to mariner assistance, and it was a beautiful thing to watch.”

The sailors delivered food, water and car batteries to power the stranded vessel temporarily. The company that operates the boat sent another vessel, the M/V Beyanara, which arrived today. The Anchorage remained on station until the other ship reached the scene.

The Navy said the Beyanara was towing the Lakshan back to land.

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