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"The engine was too badly damaged to repair at sea", the statement said. "NATO offered to transfer the crew to the closest port, but they chose to stay with their vessel", it added. The ITS Grecale "is remaining in the area to monitor the situation, ready to provide further assistance if required." The ship had been released from suspected Somali pirates, whom many believe were western mercenaries in disguise of pirates, on Jan. 7 by a Danish warship, the HDMS Absalon. That operation came days after a USZ warship, the USS Carney, intercepted the Indian-flagged dhow Al-Qashmi off the southwestern coast of Oman and freed its 20 Indian crew members. The weekend assistance comes amid heightened tensions between the international community and Tehran.
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