The US Navy was forced to fire warning shots at three Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) fast inshore attack craft (FIAC) during an April 26 standoff in the Persian Gulf.
The navy said the IRGCN boats failed to exercise due regard for the safety of other vessels as they came into close proximity to US naval vessels in international waters of the north Arabian Gulf.
The IRGCN armed speed boats rapidly approached US Navy patrol coastal ship USS Firebolt (PC 10) and US Coast Guard patrol boat USCGC Baranof (WPB 1318) to an unnecessarily close range with unknown intent, including a closest point of approach (CPA) of 68 yards to both US ships.
Firebolt and Baranof were conducting routine maritime security operations in international waters during the time of the incident.
The navy said the US crews issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio and loud-hailer devices, but the IRGCN vessels continued their close range maneuvers. The crew of Firebolt then fired warning shots, and the IRGCN vessels moved away to a safe distance from the US vessels.
“The IRGCN’s actions increased the risk of miscalculation and/or collision, were not in accordance with the internationally recognized Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) “rules of the road” or internationally recognized maritime customs,” the navy said.
The April 26 interaction follow an earlier one from April 2, when the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) catamaran Harth 55, accompanied by three fast attack craft (FAC)/fast inshore attack craft (FIAC), approached US Coast Guard patrol boats USCGC Wrangell (WPB 1332) and USCGC Monomoy (WPB 1326) in the southern Persian Gulf.
The Harth 55 repeatedly crossed the bows of the US vessels at close range, including crossings both Wrangell and Monomoy’s bows at a 70 yard closest point of approach (CPA).