A US warship fired warning shots after Iranian vessels approached a patrol fleet in the Persian Gulf, the U.S. Navy reported on Wednesday.
According to the AP, the Navy released footage of the clash that took place on Monday night inside international waters in the northern waters of the Persian Gulf.
Tehran didn’t acknowledge the encounter.
The Navy said in a statement that the USS Firebolt fired the warning shots after three Iranian fast-boats breached a 68-yard distance of the US vessel as well as the U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat USCGC Baranoff.
“The U.S. crews issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio and loud-hailer devices, but the (Guard) vessels continued their close-range maneuvers,” spokeswoman Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich for the Mideast-based 5th Fleet said. “The crew of Firebolt then fired warning shots, and the (Guard) vessels moved away to a safe distance from the U.S. vessels.”
Rebarich called on Iran to “operate with due regard for the safety of all vessels as required by international law.”
“U.S. naval forces continue to remain vigilant and are trained to act in a professional manner, while our commanding officers retain the inherent right to act in self-defense,” she added.
This is the second time the US Navy accused Iran of maneuvering in an “unsafe and unprofessional” fashion this month alone.
Black and white footage that was released by the Navy on Tuesday shows an Iranian vessel cutting off the USCGC Monomoy, causing the Coast Guard ship to make a sudden stop with its engine releasing smoke on April 2.
Iran made a similar maneuver with another Coast Guard ship, the USCGC Wrangell, Rebarich stated. These types of close passes can cause collisions.
The incident was the first “unsafe and unprofessional” event involving the Revolutionary Guards since April 15, 2020, Rebarich added.
The US Navy reported 14 incidents of “unsafe and or unprofessional” encounters with IRGC forces in 2017. It recorded 35 such incidents in 2016 and 23 in 2015.