Eleven Irananian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) harrassed U.S. military vessels in international waters in the North Arabian Gulf, the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet said Wednesday.
The Navy said the unsafe and unprofessional interactions took place Wednesday, April 15, as U.S. Naval Forces were conducting joint integration operations with U.S. Army AH-64E Apache attack helicopters.
According to the Navy, the IRGCN vessels repeatedly conducted dangerous and harassing approaches of 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).
The IRGCN vessels repeatedly crossed the bows and sterns of the U.S. vessels at extremely close range and high speeds, including multiple crossings of the Puller within 50 yards and within 10 yards of Maui’s bow, the Navy said.
The U.S. crews issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio, five short blasts from the ships’ horns and long range acoustic noise maker devices, but received no response from the IRGCN, the Navy said.
After about an hour, the IRGCN vessels responded to the bridge-to-bridge radio contacts and maneuvered away.
After approximately one hour, the IRGCN vessels responded to the bridge-to-bridge radio queries, then maneuvered away from the U.S. ships and
“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 statement said.
The U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, Marines and Army have been conducting joint operations in the North Arabian Gulf since late March.
More photos of the altercation released by the U.S. Navy are below: