A U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer fired a warning flare to stop an Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessel from drawing closer to it at sea, according to an American official.
The incident took place on Monday but was not immediately reported by Iranian authorities. According to officials, the Iranian vessel came within 1,100 yards of the USS Mahan. Lt. Ian McConnaughey, a spokesman for the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, said the Mahan first attempted to turn away from the vessel but it continued to draw closer which is when the destroyer deployed the flare.
The “Mahan made several attempts to contact the Iranian vessel by bridge-to-bridge radio, issuing warning messages and twice sounding the internationally recognized danger signal of five short blasts with the ship’s whistle, as well as deploying a flare to determine the Iranian vessel’s intentions,” McConnaughey said in a statement to The Associated Press.
The vessel eventually turned around and headed in another direction.
This is not the first heated encounter between the United States and Iran at sea. According to the Navy, there were 35 instances described as “unsafe and/or unprofessional” interactions with Iranian forces in 2016, a jump from 23 in 2015.
So far this year there have been seven, according to McConnaughey.
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