Eleven vessels from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) on 15 April came close to United States Navy and Coast Guard ships in the Gulf amid heightening tensions between Washington and Tehran.
According to a US military statement, the IRGCN vessels approached six US military vessels while they were conducting operations with Army helicopters in international waters in the Gulf.
The US Navy, Coast Guard, Marines and Army have been conducting joint interoperability operations in the North Arabian Gulf since late March.
It was reported that at one of the Iranian vessels came within 10 yards of the US Coast Guard cutter Maui.
US crews reportedly issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio, five short blasts from the ships’ horns and long-range acoustic noise maker devices, but received no response from the IRGCN. The Iranian ships left after about an hour.
“The IRGCN’s dangerous and provocative actions increased the risk of miscalculation and collision, were not in accordance with the internationally recognized Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) “rules of the road” or internationally recognized maritime customs, and were not in accordance with the obligation under international law to act with due regard for the safety of other vessels in the area” the US military said in a statement
“We’ve talked as a team. … We’re evaluating how best to respond and how best to communicate our displeasure with what … took place,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News
Tensions between Iran and Washington increased earlier this year after the US killed Soleimani in a drone strike in Iraq.
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