The destroyer Gravely (seen here in 2012) assisted in the rescue of approximately 120 men, women and children stranded in the central Mediterranean Sea, off southern Greece, Monday night after their ship ran out of fuel, according to a Navy spokesman. (Lt. Cmdr. Corey Barker / Navy)
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The destroyer Gravely assisted in the rescue of approximately 120 men, women and children stranded in the central Mediterranean Sea, off southern Greece, Monday night after their ship ran out of fuel, according to a Navy spokesman.
The ship stayed on site overnight before transferring responsibility to the Italian coast guard early Tuesday morning, 6th Fleet spokesman Lt. Shawn Eklund said.
At the request of the Greek government, the Navy dispatched Gravely and the destroyer Ramage, which were patrolling nearby. Both ships have been in 6th Fleet since late summer as part of the Navy’s response to the Syria crisis.
Gravely reached the ship at approximately 8 p.m. local time, according to a Navy release. Once the crew determined that the wooden fishing vessel was seaworthy, Gravely spent the night floating nearby until the Italian coast guard offshore patrol boat Nave Dattilo arrived to take on the passengers.
According to a Reuters report, the boat was apparently carrying migrants heading for the southern European coast. Southern European governments have been working to stem an influx of migrants attempting to cross the Med — and often drowning in adverse conditions, according to Reuters.
Earlier this month, the amphibious transport dock ship San Antonio rescued 128 migrants from a raft at the request of the Maltese government.
Sixth Fleet spokesman Capt. Brenda Malone has said that although 6th Fleet ships are not specifically patrolling for migrant boats, they are on-hand to respond to requests for assistance from allies in the area.