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Navy destroyer saves crew of burning boat in Arabian Gulf

By By Ens. Joe Barone, USS Higgins

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Aug. 31, 2015 — ARABIAN GULF (August 28, 2015) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76) rendered assistance to the crew of a burning fishing vessel on Aug. 28.

Higgins spotted the vessel on the horizon and proceeded to its location to render assistance.

Upon arrival, Higgins found the fishing vessel engulfed in flames. As the ship proceeded closer to investigate, lookouts spotted the vessel's crew in the water clinging to debris. Higgins launched one of her rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIB) and rescued the four-person crew. After the crew was delivered to the ship, hospital corpsmen examined them while the ship's Rescue and Assistance Team provided them with food and water. None of the crewmen were injured.

"This was a terrific demonstration of the Navy's ability to render assistance to those in need," said Chief Hospital Corpsman Frank Gonzalez, a San Diego native. "It gave me a deep sense of accomplishment knowing I could help (others) while being deployed."

Higgins delivered the four crewmen to local authorities so they could be returned ashore.

"Higgins is fully capable to perform a full spectrum of operations," said Cmdr. Allen P. Johnson, Higgins' commanding officer. "It is the duty of any professional maritime force to render assistance when needed and we were upholding that responsibility."

Higgins is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation effort in the region. The ship is homeported in San Diego.