United States ship fires warning shots after 'unsafe' encounter with armed Iranian speedboats


In late April, three Iranian fast inshore attack craft provoked warning shots when they came close to two U.S. vessels in global waters in the northern part of the Gulf, it said.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the Coast Guard cutter Maui fired two volleys from a.50-caliber machine gun Monday when two Revolutionary Guard fast boats "operated in an unsafe and unprofessional manner in close proximity" to six US vessels, including the submarine USS Georgia.

A group of 13 armed speedboats of Iran's Revolutionary Guard made "unsafe and unprofessional" high-speed manoeuvres toward US Navy vessels in the Strait of Hormuz today, and a US Coast Guard cutter fired warning shots when two of the Iranian boats came dangerously close, US officials say.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby accused the Iranian boats of "acting very aggressively" near the U.S. military vessels, which were escorting USS Georgia, a guided-missile submarine.

Two of the boats then broke off and approached the US ships from behind at about 37 miles per hour "with their weapons uncovered and manned", according to the Navy, which described the Iranian vessels as "a type of speedboat armed with machine guns". "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".

In April, a U.S. military ship fired warning shots after three vessels from IRGCN came close to it and another American patrol boat in the Gulf. "After the second round of warning shots, the 13 fast attack craft from the IRGCN [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy] broke contact", Kirby said during a briefing.

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It was the second time in two weeks that US ships fired warning shots at Iranian vessels.

"Sadly harassment by the IRGC-N is not a new phenomenon", said Kirby, referring to the Guards' navy.

The U.S. naval vessels were escorting the submarine as it traversed on the surface.

"It's an global waterway and of course when you're in the strait, there are certain limits to your ability to maneuver", he said.

In that incident, the Iranian fast boats came within 62 meters of the USS Firebolt after several failed attempts to hail the Iranian vessels. "I mean, it is a choke point in the region".

"There was a volley at roughly the 300-yard mark and then another volley of warning shots as they got into one hundred and fifty yards", Kirby said. Last month, Iran's Navy came within 68 yards of U.S. ships operating in the Persian Gulf.