For the fourth time in less than a month, an Iranian ship has daringly taunted a United States Navy vessel, and officials are becoming concerned.
Sunday, the U.S. Navy coastal patrol ship, USS Firebolt, had to quickly change course after a “fast-attack craft” from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps sailed directly in front it, coming within 100 yards of the 174-foot U.S. ship in the central Gulf.
Reuters reported that the U.S. ship tried three times to communicate with the Iran ship by radio, but received no response.
One U.S. official stated that the move was “unsafe and unprofessional, due to the lack of communications and the close-range harassing maneuvering.” They said that uncovered and manned weapons were seen on the Iranian vessel. “We don’t see this type of unsafe and unprofessional activity from any other nation,” the official said.
In all, Iran has pulled similar stunts a total of 31 times this year – almost twice as many as last year. The U.S. even had to fire warning shots in one recent incident. Iran’s defense minister reportedly said they were just “doing their job.”
Additional details being reported indicate that 7 Iranian fast-attack boats were actually involved:
Seven Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) fast in-shore attack craft (FIAC) approached USSFirebolt (PC-10) while it was operating in international waters in the central Persian Gulf on Sept. 4, a defense official told USNI News.
Three of the FIACs maneuvered close to Firebolt, mirroring the ship’s course and speed at a distance of about 500 yards for about eight minutes before leaving. Another FIAC then sped towards Firebolt and stopped directly in front of the ship, causing the Firebolt crew to maneuver to avoid a collision. The U.S. ship and Iranian FIAC came within 100 yards of one another, the defense official said.
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