The U.S. Defense Department on Tuesday released photos showing the type of small Navy patrol boats that are being held by Iranian authorities, along with 10 U.S. crew members.
Two of the so-called Riverine Command Boats drifted into Iran's territorial waters in the Persian Gulf after one of the reportedly experienced mechanical problems while traveling from Kuwait to Bahrain. Rescue teams from the Harry S. Truman Strike Group -- which includes the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman -- responded, apparently too late, and remain in the vicinity.
A senior defense official confirmed the incident and said the crew members will be freed. But the statement didn't specify when -- one report indicated they may have to spend the night in Iran -- or whether the vessels would also be returned.
"Earlier today, we lost contact with two small U.S. naval craft en route from Kuwait to Bahrain," the official said in a statement. "We subsequently have been in communication with Iranian authorities, who have informed us of the safety and well-being of our personnel. We have received assurances the sailors will promptly be allowed to continue their journey."
Below is a sampling of photos released by the Pentagon of the type of riverine craft involved in the incident. The fast-attack boats made in Sweden (CB-90) travel at speeds of about 40 knots, transport as many as 20 crew and carry up to several crew-served weapons, including .50-caliber machine guns.