US ships on Monday fired some 30 warning shots after 13 “fast-attack” boats with the naval arm of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard Corps, the IRGCN, “precariously approached” US Navy and Coast Guard vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, the Pentagon said.
“A large group of … IRGCN fast boats conducted unsafe and unprofessional manoeuvres and failed to exercise due regard for the safety of US forces … while operating in close proximity to US naval vessels that were transiting the Strait of Hormuz,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said during a briefing.
Kirby said the IRGCN boats approached a formation of six US Navy vessels escorting the guided missile submarine USS Georgia “at high speed,” adding that they got as close as 135 metres.
“After following all the appropriate and established procedures involving ships – horn blast, bridge-to-bridge radio transmissions and other ways of communicating – the Coast Guard Cutter Maui … fired approximately 30 warning shots from a 50-calibre machine-gun,” Kirby said.
“After the second round of warning shots, the 13 fast-attack craft from the IRGCN broke contact.”
The spokesman said it wasn’t immediately clear under whose direction the IRGCN ships were operating.
“Harassment by the IRGC Navy is not a new phenomenon,” he said. “It is something that all our commanding officers and crews of our vessels are trained … for when serving in the Central Command area of responsibility, particularly in and around the Gulf.”
Kirby said the US response was appropriate and within their rights to self-defence.