10 US sailors in Iranian custody after 2 naval craft lose contact

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

A US Navy patrol boat follows a boat that passed near the USS Ponce where U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was taking a tour, on December 6, 2013 in Manama, Bahrain. Secretary Hagel is on a six-day trip to the middle east before returning to Washington. US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel toured the Ponce which was recently refitted and converted to a staging base for mine countermeasures helicopters and carries a laser weapons system. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

(Jan. 12, 2016)– Ten American sailors are in Iranian custody after two small U.S. naval craft apparently briefly entered Iranian territorial waters, a U.S. senior defense official said Tuesday.

The official, however, expects the situation to be resolved quickly.

A senior administration official told CNN that the U.S. lost contact with the two ships, which were en route from Kuwait to Bahrain.

“We subsequently have been in communication with Iranian authorities, who have informed us of the safety and well-being of our personnel,” the senior administration official said. “We have received assurances the sailors will promptly be allowed to continue their journey.”

The U.S. is uncertain whether the vessels, which were sailing near Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf, intentionally entered Iranian waters, and the senior defense official said no distress call was made by the ships.

Secretary of State John Kerry called his Iranian counterpart to try to resolve the matter.

“We’re aware. We’re working on it and we hope to resolve the situation,” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told CNN.

Iranian representatives at the U.N. mission in New York had no comment.