US Navy ship fires multiple warning shots at Iranian boat in Persian Gulf
Department of Defense/ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) — A U.S. Navy ship fired multiple warning shots at an Iranian vessel in the Persian gulf that came within 150 yards of the American ship, a U.S. official confirmed.
The Iranian ship, believed to belong to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, was approaching the USS Thunderbolt at a high rate of speed and ignored warnings from the U.S. ship that included voice communications and sound signals, the official said.
The incident, which occurred around 3 p.m. local time Tuesday, was deemed “unsafe and unprofessional,” the official said.
The USS Thunderbolt, a Navy patrol craft, was conducting routine operations in the Gulf when the Iranian vessel approached, the official said.
While close encounters between U.S. ships and Iranian small craft in the Gulf are common, it’s rare for an American ship to fire warning shots. This is also the closest that an Iranian vessel has come to a U.S. ship in the Gulf in at least a year.
In January, a U.S. Navy destroyer, the USS Mahan, fired a burst of warning shots at four Iranian small craft that were approaching a high rate of speed. Those boats got as close as 890 yards. And in August, the USS Squall fired warning shots into waters ahead of a speeding Iranian boat to warn the small craft that it had come within 200 yards of the U.S. ship.
In a more recent encounter deemed “unsafe and unprofessional,” an Iranian ship targeted a laser at a U.S. helicopter as it accompanied three U.S. Navy ships through the Strait of Hormuz last month.
Following that incident, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet said, “Illuminating helicopters with lasers at night is dangerous, as it creates a navigational hazard that can impair vision and can be disorienting to pilots using night-vision goggles.” The closest the Iranian vessel got to the American ships in that circumstance was 800 yards.
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