USCG Cutter Fires Warning Shots at Armed Iranian Boats in Strait of Hormuz

On Monday, May 10, the USCG Cutter Maui fired two volleys of warning shots as 13 Iranian fast in-shore attack craft came within 150 yards of American ships in the Strait of Hormuz. This is the second time in two weeks that warning shots have been fired at Iranian IRGCN vessels. The Pentagon referred to this situation as “significant.” The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow international waterway with little room for larger ships to maneuver.

The US Navy formation included Navy Patrol ships Hurricane, Thunderbolt, Squall, and USCG Cutter Maui and USCG Cutter Wrangell. The Iranian fast attack boats were armed with machine guns, two of which were manned.

It’s an international waterway and, of course, when you’re in the strait, there are certain limits to your ability to maneuver. It is a choke point in the region. So it’s not insignificant that this kind of dangerous, unsafe and unprofessional behavior occurred there…

Sadly, harassment by the IRGC Navy is not a new phenomenon. It is something that all of our commanding officers and the crews of our vessels are trained for when serving in the Central Command area of responsibility, particularly in and around the Gulf. This activity is the kind of activity that could lead to somebody getting hurt and could lead to a miscalculation in the region, and that doesn’t serve anybody’s interests.

John Kirby, Pentagon spokesperson

The Navy said that two of the 13 Iranian speedboats broke away from the larger group and moved to the opposite side of the U.S. formation. Those two speedboats approached the Maui and Squall from behind, the Navy said, at more than 32 knots, or nearly 37 miles per hour.

The Navy said the two Iranian boats had their weapons uncovered and manned. The other 11 Iranian boats remained in their original position, the service said, putting the U.S. ships between two groups of Iranian boats.

Kirby said the U.S. ships followed “all the appropriate and established procedures” and made several attempts to communicate with the Iranian boats and dissuade them from their approaches.

The Navy said that the Maui and Squall made multiple bridge-to-bridge verbal warnings, five “acoustic device” warnings, and five short horn blasts. The service said that is the internationally recognized signal for danger when trying to prevent collisions at sea.

When those efforts were unsuccessful, Kirby said, the Maui fired two volleys of warning shots from its .50-cal, totaling about 30 shots in all. The first volley was fired when the ships were within 300 yards, the Navy said, and the second when they were within 150 yards.

After the second volley of warning shots, the 13 Iranian ships broke off contact.

Stephen Losey at

On April 26, as we previously reported, another incident similar to this occurred in the North Arabian Sea, where the USS Firebolt fired warning shots as Iranian vessels came too close.

Iran is up to something, make no mistake.


Featured Photo: US Navy via Twitter

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