Thursday , 21 September 2023

US Navy Fires Warning Shots at Iranian Boats Near Persian Gulf

VOA –  A U.S. Navy ship fired three warnings shots at Iranian boats near the Strait of Hormuz on Sunday, a U.S. defense official told VOA.

USS Mahan (DDG 72) steaming in the Atlantic Ocean on September 27, 2002
(U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Rex Nelson)

Four Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps vessels were “traveling right at” the USS Mahan in the Strait of Hormuz at a “very high rate of speed,” the defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The crew identified themselves as part of the U.S. Navy, and repeated “multiple times” that the ships needed to turn away or the crew would be “forced to use a defensive measure,” the defense official said.

When the Iranian boats did not respond to radio requests to slow down, the USS Mahan fired shots.

“As soon as the crew fired off warning shots, the small Iranian boats stopped and the U.S. ships proceeded on their route,” the defense official said.

The Navy destroyer was escorting the USS Makin Island, an amphibious ship, and the USNS Walter S. Diehl, a supply ship, during the time of the incident.

A defense official told VOA the U.S. encourages Iran and all nations to operate in accordance with internationally recognized maritime laws, standards and norms.

“Our commanding officers are obligated to act in self-defense. Such unsafe and unprofessional interactions with IRGCN vessels create a risk of escalation and are entirely preventable with proper seamanship,” the official said.

Carla Babb is VOA’s Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.