Two U.S. Navy Sailors Missing Off Coast of Somalia

January 12, 2024 9:10 PM - Updated: January 13, 2024 4:58 PM
The coast of Somalia. NASA Image

Two Navy sailors are missing at sea off the coast of Somalia, U.S. Central Command said via a statement Friday.

Search and rescue operations are currently ongoing, according to the statements. The two sailors are SEALs, a defense official confirmed to USNI News, verifying stories from ABC News and The Associated Press.

Details, including the ship the sailors were on or their names, have not yet been released. The sailors were forward-deployed to U.S. 5th Fleet, according to the statement. The SEALs were boarding a vessel by boat in the Gulf of Aden when they fell into the water, ABC News reported. According to The Associated Press, one sailor fell into the water and the other jumped in after them, following protocol.

AP also reported that the first sailor was knocked into the waters by high waves and that it occurred during an interdiction mission not related to Operation Prosperity Guardian, the defensive coalition between the U.S. and allies to protect commercial shipping in the Red Sea.

The U.S. has been operating more ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden over the last two months following a steady steam of attacks from Houthi forces in Yemen starting on Oct. 17.

Here’s the complete Central Command statement:

On the evening of January 11, two U.S. Navy Sailors were reported missing at sea while conducting operations off the coast of Somalia. Search and rescue operations are currently ongoing to locate the two sailors. For operational security purposes, we will not release additional information until the personnel recovery operation is complete.

Out of respect for the families affected, we will not release further information on the missing personnel at this time.

The sailors were forward-deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet (C5F) area of operations supporting a wide variety of missions.

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio is a reporter with USNI News. She has a master’s degree in science journalism and has covered local courts, crime, health, military affairs and the Naval Academy.
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