U.S. Navy Photo

U.S. Navy Accuses Iran Revolutionary Guards of Harassing USCG Ships in Gulf

Mike Schuler
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April 27, 2021

The U.S. Navy has accused Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels of harrassing U.S. Coast Guard ships in international waters in the southern Arabian (Persian) Gulf. 

The Navy said the incident occurred April 2 when the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) vessel Harth 55 and three accompanying fast attack craft approached the U.S. Coast Guard patrol boats USCGC Wrangell (WPB 1332) and USCGC Monomoy (WPB 1326) during routine maritime security patrols. 

In photos and video released of the incident, the Harth 55 can be seen repeatedly crossing the bows of the U.S. Coast Guard vessels at “an unnecessarily close range,” coming within just a 70 yard at the closest point of the approaches. 

“The Harth 55 closed aggressively on Wrangell’s bow, resulting in Wrangell maneuvering to avoid collision while sounding five short blasts from the ship’s horn,” according to the U.S. Navy. 

The U.S. crews issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio, plus five short blasts from the ships’ horns. while the Harth 55 responded to the bridge-to-bridge radio queries, they continued the unsafe maneuvers, the Navy said. 

“After approximately three hours of the U.S. issuing warnings and conducting defensive maneuvers, the IRGCN vessels maneuvered away from the U.S. ships and opened the distance between them,” according to he Navy. 

“The IRGCN’s actions were deemed unsafe and unprofessional. Their 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 Navy said. 

The USCGC ships are assigned to Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA), the largest U.S. Coast Guard unit outside the United States, and operate under U.S. Naval Forces Central Command’s Task Force 55.

ARABIAN GULF (April 2, 2021) Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) Harth 55, left, conducted an unsafe and unprofessional action by crossing the bow of the Coast Guard patrol boat USCGC Monomoy (WPB 1326), right, as the U.S. vessel was conducting a routine maritime security patrol in international waters of the southern Arabian Gulf, Apr. 2. U.S. Navy Photo
ARABIAN GULF (April 2, 2021) Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) Harth 55, center, approaches the Coast Guard patrol boat USCGC Wrangell (WPB 1332) bow in an unsafe and unprofessional action forcing the Wrangell to conduct a defensive maneuver, Apr. 2. U.S. Navy Photo
ARABIAN GULF (April 2, 2021) Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) Harth 55, left, conducted an unsafe and unprofessional action by crossing the bow of the Coast Guard patrol boat USCGC Monomoy (WPB 1326), right, as the U.S. vessel was conducting a routine maritime security patrol in international waters of the southern Arabian Gulf, Apr. 2. U.S. Navy Photo
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