The US Navy said it rescued 13 Iranian fishermen held hostage by pirates in the Northern Arabian Sea. The US Navy announced Friday that it detained 15 suspected Somalis pirates aboard a fishing vessel, the Al Molai, on Thursday after receiving a distress call from the vessel. “The Al Molai had been taken over by pirates for roughly the last 40-45 days,” Josh Schminky, a Navy Criminal Investigative Service agent, said in the statement. “After securing the ship and ensuring the safety of all persons on board, we began distributing food and water to both the crew and the suspected criminals as is our standard practice in counter-piracy operations,” Schminky said. “Humanitarian Way” The Navy responds to piracy and it didn’t matter that the fishing vessel was Iranian, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in an interview for the “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley.” While there was no immediate response from the Iranian government, Panetta said, “It makes it very clear to them that, despite how much they often try to provoke us, the United States in this kind of situation is going to respond as we should in a very humanitarian and responsible way.” Tensions Iran concluded its naval exercises in the Strait of Hormuz on Jan 3. Iranian Army Chief, General Ataollah Salehi, warned the Aircraft Carrier USS John C Stennis not to return to the Persian Gulf. “We recommend to the American warship that passed through the Strait of Hormuz and went to Gulf of Oman not to return to the Persian Gulf,” Salehi was cited as saying by the state-run Fars news agency. Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi also warned last month that Iran would block the Strait of Hormuz if further sanctions are imposed to prevent Iranian oil exports. The US said it will continue operations in and around the Persian Gulf.