Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) carried out a high speed intercept, coming within 300 feet, of the U.S. Destroyer the USS Nitze. Four IRGC ships conducted the unsafe and unprofessional intercept near the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday. The four ships did not respond to any of the U.S. destroyer’s hails or warning flares. The USS Nitze was being accompanied by another American vessel, a guided missile destroyer, the USS Mason. The two ships were reportedly in international waters conducting routine operations at the time of the incident. The four Iranian vessels ignored up to 12 radio transmissions from the USS Nitze at the time of the incident.
The American ships were eventually forced to take evasive action. The ship changed its trajectory to avoid the path of the IRGC ships and were forced to travel within unsafe distances of nearby oil rigs. Service members on board the USS Nitze noted that the Iranian ships had their weapons uncovered and appeared to be extremely aggressive. A voice video recording, normally used to report the ships location and speed, picked up audio of a Sailor commenting on the dangerous nature of the Iranian ships. The Sailor stated:
“This is USS Nitze reporting from the Southern Arabian Gulf, We have visual contact with four Iranian… WPBs… Bridge to bridge COMMS were conducted but no response. Weapons uncovered… appears to be unsafe, unprofessional.”
Real video footage of the intercept has also been released and can be seen below:
The four Iranian ships eventually ended their chase after the USS Nitze issued five short blasts from its whistle, the official maritime danger signal, and changed course to avoid the ships. The intercept comes just one month after Gen. Joseph Votel, U.S. Central Command, claimed that “90 percent” of all interactions between the U.S. and Iranian ships are “safe and professional.”