Seven Iranian Patrol Vessels felt it was necessary and prudent to harass and almost collide with one of the U.S. Navy’s Coastal Patrol ship on Sunday. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) fast in-shore attack crafts (FIAC) approached USS Firebolt (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 FIAC’s boats speed into a mirroring pattern with the Firebolt from a distance of about 500 yards for almost 10 minutes at which point they left the area and a fourth boat swooped in front of the U.S. Navy ship and stop in it’s path causing the Firebolt’s crew to maneuver to narrowly avoid a collision.
The U.S. crew tried 3 times to communicate with the FIAC but they were ignored each time, so their intentions are still unknown.
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) called the interaction unsafe and unprofessional due to the lack of communication and harassment at close range, which increases the chance of collision, the defense official said. “The Iranian’s unsafe maneuvers near a United States ship operating in accordance with international law while transiting in international waters created a dangerous, harassing situation that could have led to further escalation including additional defensive measures by Firebolt,” the official told USNI News.
“This type of incident would have led NAVCENT to recommend that the State Department deliver a diplomatic message of protest if this interaction had been with a country with which the United States had an official diplomatic relationship.”
This comes on the heels of two other instances where Iranian ships have harassed our vessels. On Aug. 23 it was our guided-missile destroyer USS Nitze (DDG-94) , as well as patrol coastal ships USS Tempest (PC-2) and USS Squall (PC-7) and destroyer USS Stout (DDG-55) on Aug. 24.
H/T [ USNI ]