US ship fires warning shots near Iran ship

US ship fires warning shots near Iran ship

US ship fires warning shots near Iran ship

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Maui fired warning shots from a.50-caliber machine gun when the boats came within 300 meters of the U.S. vessels, and again when the boats came within 140 meters, at which point they backed off.

"After U.S. naval ships repeated verbal and acoustic warning, sounded five blasts of the ship's horn, and fired warning shots", the two Iranian craft withdrew, according to a statement by NAVCENT.

The US had earlier said the warning shots were fired after more than a dozen Iranian fast attack boats buzzed close to a US Navy submarine and escort ships in the narrow Strait of Hormuz on Monday.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby accused the Iranian boats of "acting very aggressively" near the United States military vessels, which were escorting USS Georgia, a guided-missile submarine. "This kind of activity is the kind of activity that could lead to somebody getting hurt and can lead to a miscalculation there in the region".

An Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) fast in-shore attack craft (FIAC), a type of speedboat armed with machine guns, speeds near United States naval vessels transiting the Strait of Hormuz, Monday, May 10, 2021.

Illustrative: A US MH-60 Seahawk helicopter flies over Iranian Revolutionary Guard patrol boats in the Strait of Hormuz, December 21, 2018.

It fired another volley when the Iranian boats got within 150 yards. On April 2, Revolutionary Guard ships repeatedly crossed in front of U.S. Coast Guard ships at close range over three hours.

The statement said two of the US ships, the USS Squall and the Maui, made multiple attempts to hail the two boats, including repeated bridge-to-bridge verbal warnings and five short blasts of the ship's horn - the internationally recognized signal for danger - before the warning shots were fired.

U.S. Coast Guard ships have operated in the Persian Gulf since 2003 and fall under the control of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command's Task Force 55.

Kirby said it was "not insignificant" that the tense exchange happened in the busy strait that connects the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.

"It's an worldwide waterway and of course when you're in the strait, there are certain limits to your ability to maneuver", he said. The warning shots fired then were the first in nearly four years.

A similar event happened late last month when IRGC vessels came too close to a patrol line in the northern end of the Persian Gulf near Kuwait.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said "harassment" by the IRGV Navy is "not new".

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