National Security

Two Navy Sailors Missing After Night Mission Off Somalia’s Coast

(Photo by IAKOVOS HATZISTAVROU/AFP via Getty Images)

John Oyewale Contributor
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Two U.S. Navy sailors went missing Thursday after a nighttime boarding mission off the coast of Somalia, according to reports.

The sailors were trying to board and seize an enemy ship when one fell into the water and the other, who was next to the fallen sailor, jumped into the water following protocol, the Associated Press (AP) reported. The sailors were Navy SEALs, according to the AP.

The U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) said Friday “search and rescue operations are currently ongoing” but would not share more information, citing operational security and deference to the affected families, according to a USCENTCOM statement.

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

The mission was not part of Operation Prosperity Guardian, a U.S.-led multinational and transatlantic security initiative launched Dec. 18, 2023, to combat a recent wave of Yemeni Houthi aggression against commercial ships traversing international waters in the southern Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, the AP reported. It also reportedly was not linked to Iran’s seizure of an oil tanker Thursday. (RELATED: US Troops Kill Militants In Firefight After Rebels Attempt To Board Commercial Ship)

Sailors rarely go missing at sea, with one or two incidents occurring every year, but missing sailors are almost always never found, reported.

Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Apprentice Ethan Goolsby, 20, from San Antonio, Texas, was last seen early Dec. 10, 2020 after a night shift on the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, a U.S. Navy Memorial announcement noted. Two lookouts reportedly said they sighted someone in the water about 30 minutes after Goolsby went missing. After a fruitless 55-hour search, Goolsby was considered “dead, lost at sea,” according to the announcement.