Tampa, Florida - The following preliminary timeline of the events surrounding the Iranian detainment of 10 U.S. Navy Sailors from January 12-13, is based upon multiple operational reports received by U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) in the first 24-48 hours after the incident.
A Navy command investigation initiated Jan. 14, will provide a more complete accounting of events.
On Jan. 12, two NAVCENT Riverine Command Boat (RCB) crews were tasked with the mission of relocating two RCBs from Kuwait to Bahrain, with a planned refueling en route alongside the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Monomoy. The two RCBs were traveling together since they train and deploy in two-boat elements. They departed Kuwait at 9:23 a.m.(GMT). The planned transit path for the mission was down the middle of the Gulf and not through the territorial waters of any country other than Kuwait and Bahrain.
The two RCBs were scheduled to conduct an underway refueling with the USCGC Monomoy in international waters at approximately 2 p.m. (GMT). At approximately 2:10 p.m. (GMT) NAVCENT received a report that the RCBs were being queried by Iranians. At approximately 2:29 p.m. (GMT) NAVCENT was advised of degraded communications with the RCBs.
At 2:45 p.m. (GMT) NAVCENT was notified of a total loss of communications with the RCBs. Immediately, NAVCENT initiated an intensive search and rescue operation using both air and naval assets including aircraft from USS Harry S. Truman and the U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Coast Guard, U.K. Royal Navy and U.S. Navy surface vessels.
At the time of the incident, two carrier strike groups were operating nearby. USS Harry S. Truman carrier strike group was 45 miles southeast of Farsi Island and Charles de Gaulle carrier strike group was 40 miles north of Farsi Island. NAVCENT attempted to contact Iranian military units operating near Farsi Island by broadcasting information regarding their search and rescue effort over marine radio, and separately notified Iranian coast guard units via telephone about the search for their personnel.
At 6:15 p.m. (GMT), U.S. Navy cruiser USS Anzio received a communication from the Iranians that the RCB Sailors were in Iranian custody and were "safe and healthy."