U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) has released videos of an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) naval vessel that conducted an “unsafe and unprofessional interaction” with the U.S. Navy’s USS Thunderbolt (PC 12) on Tuesday, getting within 150 yards. After multiple attempts at communication, the Thunderbolt fired warning shots at the IRGC vessel.
The USS Thunderbolt was conducting a coalition exercise in the international waters of the Arabian Gulf at the time. The Thunderbolt fired warning shots at the Iranian boat.
“The Iranian vessel did not respond to repeated attempts to establish radio communications as it approached,” CENTCOM reported. “Thunderbolt then fired warning flares and sounded the internationally recognized danger signal of five short blasts on the ship’s whistle, but the Iranian vessel continued inbound. As the Iranian vessel proceeded toward the U.S. ship, Thunderbolt again sounded five short blasts prior to firing warning shots in front of the Iranian vessel. After the warning shots were fired, the Iranian vessel halted its unsafe approach.”
The Iranian vessel did not act in accordance with the international COLREGs (the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea) “rules of the road” or international maritime customs, CENTOM said, which created a risk for collision.
Last week, the Iranian Army Chief told the United States that calling the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps a “terrorist group” would be a “big risk” to American armed forces in Iran.