WASHINGTON (navytimes): U.S. Coast Guard cutter Maui issued a total of 30 warning shots at Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps navy fast in-shore attack craft on Monday harassing six U.S. vessels — marking the second time in just two weeks that U.S. vessels have done so.
“Earlier today, a large group of Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy … fastboats conducted unsafe and unprofessional maneuvers and failed to exercise due regard for the safety of U.S. forces as required under international law, while operating in close proximity to U.S. naval vessels that were transiting the Strait of Hormuz,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters Monday.
A total of 13 Iranian fast in-shore attack craft were involved in a high-speed approach of the U.S. ships, the Navy said in a news release Monday. Two of the Iranian vessels separated from their own group and emerged behind Maui and patrol coastal ship Squall at “a high rate of speed (in excess of 32 knots) with their weapons uncovered and manned,” according to the Navy.
The Iranian vessels ignored verbal and acoustic warnings from the U.S. ships, along with five blasts of the ship’s horn, according to the 5th Fleet.
Kirby said that the warning shots came in two separate intervals — one when the Iranian vessels were roughly 300 yards from the U.S. vessels and another at 150 yards — using a .50-caliber machine gun. The two Iranian vessels didn’t back off until after the second round of warning shots.
“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,” Kirby said. “This activity is the kind of activity that could lead to somebody getting hurt and could lead to a real miscalculation there in the region, and that doesn’t serve anybody’s interests.”