The U.S. Department of Defense is accusing an Iranian patrol boat of harassing U.S. Navy ships in the Strait of Hormuz.
One of those Navy ships was involved in a massive seizure of illegal weapons in the Gulf of Oman just last week.
The U.S. Central Command said the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) patrol boat “interacted in an unsafe and unprofessional manner” towards the expeditionary sea base ship USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3) and guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) as they were conducting a routine transit in international waters on the evening of December 5.
CENTCOM said the Iranian vessel attempted to blind the bridge by shining a spotlight and crossed within 150 yards of the U.S. ships, describing the maneuver as “dangerously close, particularly at night,” according to a statement.
The U.S. Navy ships deescalated the situation through the employment of audible warnings and non-lethal lasers continued their transit without further incident.
The IRGCN’s actions violated international standards of professional and safe maritime behavior, increasing the risk of miscalculation and collision, CENTCOM said in its statement.
“This dangerous action in international waters is indicative of Iran’s destabilizing activity across the Middle East,” said Col. Joe Buccino, CENTCOM spokesman.
Last week, forces on the USS Lewis B. Puller seized more than 1 million rounds of ammunition, thousands of fuses and propellants for rockets from a fishing trawler in the Gulf of Oman. U.S. 5th Fleet previously intercepted a fishing vessel illegally shipping lethal aid from Iran to the Houthis in Yemen on November 8.
In another incident in 2018, the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet accused IRGCN vessels of conducting repeated “dangerous and harassing approaches” towards the USS Lewis B. Puller and other U.S. military vessels in the North Arabian Gulf.
Sign up for our newsletter