US Marines in Strait of Hormuz
US Marines in Strait of HormuzReuters

The US Navy sailed its first drone boat through the strategic Strait of Hormuz on Wednesday, reported The Associated Press.

The trip by the L3 Harris Arabian Fox MAST-13, a 13-meter speedboat carrying sensors and cameras, drew the attention of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, but took place without incident, said Navy spokesman Cmdr. Timothy Hawkins.

Two US Coast Guard cutters, the USCGC Charles Moulthrope and USCGC John Scheuerman, accompanied the drone, according to the report.

The trip saw the drone safely pass with the accompanying ships through the strait, a busy waterway between Iran and Oman which at its narrowest is just 33 kilometers wide. A fifth of all oil traded passes through the strait, which connects the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman.

“The Iranians observed the unmanned surface vessel transiting the strait in accordance with international law,” Hawkins told AP. He said an Iranian drone and at least one Houdong-class fast-attack vessel operated by Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard observed the MAST-13 drone.

Iranian state media did not acknowledge the drone voyage. Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Strait of Hormuz, a crucial waterway for global energy supplies, has often been a site of tense encounters between Americans and Iranian forces.

In early December, an Iranian patrol boat tried to temporarily blind US Navy ships in the Strait of Hormuz by shining a spotlight toward the vessels and crossing within 150 yards of them.

Last August, an Iranian ship seized an American military unmanned research vessel in the Gulf but released it after a US Navy patrol boat and helicopter were deployed to the location.

Two months earlier, three vessels controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) buzzed two American ships at what the US military called “dangerously high speed”.

The Islamic Republic has threatened more than once to close the Strait of Hormuz, with the United States warning Iran in response that any attempt to close the strait would be viewed as a "red line" -- grounds for US military action.