"Two Navy SEALs Missing from Nighttime Boarding Mission off Somalia Coast, Say US Officials"

Two U.S. Navy SEALs are missing off the coast of Somalia after falling into the water during a nighttime boarding mission on Thursday, according to two U.S. officials.

The officials stated that the SEALs fell into the water one after the other while boarding a vessel by boat in the Gulf of Aden. It remains unclear what prompted their boarding of the vessel.

In such situations, it is standard protocol for SEALs to jump into the water to rescue a fellow SEAL who has fallen overboard, as per a U.S. official.

Search operations for the missing SEALs are ongoing as of Sunday, according to a defense official.

The SEALs were not part of the multinational operation to protect ships in the Red Sea area from militant attacks or the U.S. strikes in Yemen against Houthi fighters, as confirmed by two defense officials.

The Gulf of Aden has seen increased U.S. Naval activity due to Houthi attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. U.S. Navy ships deployed in these areas have responded to distress calls from commercial ships and have intercepted numerous Houthi drones and missiles.

On January 11, a statement from U.S. Central Command reported that two U.S. Navy Sailors were missing at sea while conducting operations off the coast of Somalia. The statement confirmed that search and rescue operations were ongoing but did not disclose further details for operational security reasons.

The statement emphasized that the sailors were “forward-deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet (C5F) area of operations supporting a wide variety of missions.” Additionally, it stated that further information on the missing personnel would not be released out of respect for the affected families.

A former U.S. official described nighttime boarding operations as some of the most complex and dangerous operations that Navy sailors undertake. These operations require constant monitoring of ocean sea states and environmental conditions.

Piers Potter


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