A U.S. Navy vessel was harassed by seven Iranian patrol boats on Sunday in the latest incident between the two countries.
Seven Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy fast in-shore attack craft moved in on the USS Firebolt while it was operating in international waters in the central Arabian gulf on September 4, Defense Department officials confirmed on Tuesday.
The 174-foot Cyclone-class coastal patrol ship USS Firebolt was operating in the vicinity of the the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower when the seven Iranian vessels approached.
Three of the ships moved in on the USS Firebolt, moving in on their course and mirroring it at a range of 500 yards for roughly eight minutes before leaving.
One of the four remaining Iranian vessels sped in towards the USS Firebolt and stopped 100 yards in front of the ship, causing the crew of the USS Firebolt to maneuver out of its way to avoid a close collision.
The USS Firebolt attempted three times to establish radio communication with the Iranian vessels but they received no response.
The Iranian vessels’ crew-served weapons were uncovered and manned but they were untrained during the encounter between the ships.
“The Iranian’s unsafe maneuvers near a United States ship operating in accordance with international law while transiting in international waters created a dangerous, harassing situation that could have led to further escalation including additional defensive measures by Firebolt,” the defense official said in a statement.
This incident is just the latest in a string of Iranian vessels harassing U.S. Navy Vessels in recent weeks.
On August 24, the USS Squall fired warning shots after three Iranian vessels harassed the ship, one of which buzzed within 200 feet.
The day before, the USS Nitze fired 10 warning flares after it was being harassed by four Iranian boats approaching at unsafe speeds.