WASHINGTON — The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy sent 11 vessels to harass U.S. ships operating in the Persian Gulf today, repeatedly crossing the bows and sterns of the U.S. vessels at extremely close range and high speeds, the Pentagon said.
The incidents continued for about an hour. At one point, there were multiple crossing in front of one U.S. vessel within 50 yards and another U.S. vessel within 10 yards, the Pentagon said.
The Iranians ignored multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio, five short blasts from the ships’ horns and long-range acoustic noise maker devices — then suddenly, after 60 minutes “responded to the bridge-to-bridge radio queries, then maneuvered away from the U.S. ships and opened distance between them,” the Pentagon said.
The U.S vessels involved were the USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3), USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60), USS Firebolt (PC 10), USS Sirocco (PC 6), USCGC Wrangell (WPB 1332) and USCGC Maui (WPB 1304). They were conducting joint integration operations with U.S. Army AH-64E Apache attack helicopters in the international waters of the northern Persian Gulf.
“The IRGCN’s dangerous and provocative actions increased the risk of miscalculation and collision, were not in accordance with the internationally recognized Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) ‘rules of the road’ or internationally recognized maritime customs, and were not in accordance with the obligation under international law to act with due regard for the safety of other vessels in the area,” the Pentagon said in a statement.