A rare direct ‘live fire’ encounter took place Monday in the Strait of Hormuz between Iranian fast-attack boats and US naval warships. The Iranian vessels came dangerously close to multiple US ships during the incident in the vital waterway off Iran’s coast.
The IRGC fast boats departed only after some 30 warning shots were fired by a US Coast Guard vessel that had been escorting the naval group, which included up to six US Navy vessels and the guided-missile submarine USS Georgia.
“A large group of Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy, also known as the IRGCN, fast boats conducted unsafe and unprofessional maneuvers and failed to exercise due regard for the safety of US forces,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby described in a statement.
The incident reportedly involved up to 13 Iranian fast boats approaching the US group at a high rate of speed, coming at one point to within 150 yards of the American ships.
Kirby had described that it was unusual given the IRGC boats involved were “certainly more than we’ve seen in the recent past”. He called it a “significant” incident, noting also that it occurred in an “international chokepoint waterway.”
#BREAKING: U.S. Naval Forces Central Command has released video of #Iran's IRGC Navy conducting unsafe and unprofessional maneuvers while operating in close proximity to U.S. naval vessels transiting the Strait of Hormuz on May 10. pic.twitter.com/o9vB8Qsed3
— Jason Brodsky (@JasonMBrodsky) May 10, 2021
The Pentagon statement detailed further: “The boats approached the US formation at high-speed closing in as close as 150 yards. After following all the appropriate and established procedures involving ships horn, blast bridge-to-bridge radio transmissions and other ways of communicating, US Coast Guard Cutter Maui (WPB-1304) fired approximately 30 warning shots from a 50-caliber machine gun. After the second round of warning shots, the 13 fast attack craft from the IRGCN broke contact.”
Reportedly it took two waves of warning shots from a .50-caliber machine gun from the coast guard patrol vessel before the Iranians departed.