The US Navy reported that 11 Iranian boats swarmed US Navy and Coast Guard ships in the Persian Gulf on April 15. The ships harassed were the USS Lewis B. Puller, USS Paul Hamilton , USS Firebolt, USS Sirocco, USCGC Wrangell and USCGC Maui.
“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 close encounters ranged from 50 yards to 10 yards, criss-crossing in front of the bows of the US ships. The Iranian boats did not respond to numerous ship to ship calls, Navy long-range acoustical noisemakers, and five short blasts from the ships’ horns. After an hour of the harassment, they finally responded to the calls and moved away.
Video of the harassment manoeuvers of Iranian boats. Was it a rehearsal of the "swarm attack" ? pic.twitter.com/pyMK86BXTm
— Naval News (@navalnewsnet) April 16, 2020
BREAKING: 11 Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) gun boats make "dangerous and harassing" actions against U.S. warships in Persian Gulf Wednesday, coming as close as 10 yards away, Navy says pic.twitter.com/0UiI3DyCwc
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) April 15, 2020
NEW: 11 Iranian IRGC Navy boats conducted "dangerous and provocative actions" by getting too close to U.S. Navy and Coast Guard vessels in the northern Persian Gulf today, the Navy said pic.twitter.com/qVkVGodFzy
— Dave Brown (@dave_brown24) April 15, 2020
Iranian IRGC fast boats harassed US Navy ships in recent days, the US says; video shows one manning a machine gun driving around the USS Puller filmed from another ship. The USS Hamilton was also harassed. pic.twitter.com/E82AnIv3tD
— Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis (@MidEast_Center) April 16, 2020
The Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, and Army have been conducting “joint operability” exercises in the North Arabian Gulf since late March. U.S. Army AH-64E Apache attack helicopters have been participating in the exercises.
The videos show several Iranian “fast boats,” some with their guns “unpinned,” harassing both US Coast Guard and US Navy vessels. They are pushing it – one well placed shot could sink one of them easily.
Iran believes it is at war with the United States – thus far we have ignored their sword-rattling. They appear to be hoping to spark an international incident by the harassment.
On April 14, the IRGCN intercepted a Hong Kong-flagged tanker, boarding it with armed troops and forcing it into Iranian waters. They released it with all crew safe, so no action was taken by the IMSC – International Maritime Security Construct- according to the USNI.
Featured photo: US Navy