A US Coast Guard vessel fired about 30 warning shots on Monday to drive away Iranian fast-attack boats in an “unsafe” encounter in the Strait of Hormuz, the Pentagon said on Monday.
Thirteen Iranian vessels closed rapidly with six US Navy warships escorting a submarine. “A large group of Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy, also known as the IRGCN, fast boats conducted unsafe and unprofessional maneuvers and failed to exercise due regard for the safety of US forces,” said John Kirby, the Pentagon’s press secretary. During the incident, 13 IRGCN fast-attack boats approached at high speed and closed to within 150 yards of a formation of six US Navy vessels escorting the guided-missile submarine USS Georgia. The US Navy said the IRGCN was “unnecessarily close” and “put the ships and their crews in immediate danger” [Daily Mail].
“Two of the 13 IRGCN vessels broke away from the larger group, transited to the opposite side of the US formation,” the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet said in a statement. The boats approached two US ships from behind “at a high rate of speed (in excess of 32 knots) with their weapons uncovered and manned.” After sounding the horn, reaching out over bridge-to-bridge radio transmissions, and trying other forms of communication, the Coast Guard cutter Maui fired a total of about 30 warning shots with a .50-caliber machine gun. The IRGCN vessels withdrew after the second round of warning shots.
The first round of warning shots was fired when the IRGCN vessels were 300 yards out. The second round of shots was fired at 150 yards. This is the second time in weeks that US ships have fired warning shots after Iranian actions. In late April, the US Navy coastal patrol ship USS Firebolt fired warning shots after three armed IRGCN fast-attack boats came “unnecessarily close” to it and the US Coast Guard patrol boat Baranoff as they operated in the Persian Gulf [Business Insider].
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