The Associated Press reports a group of 11 Iranian naval vessels made “dangerous and harassing” maneuvers near U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf near Kuwait yesterday, in one case passing within ten meters of a Coast Guard cutter, quoting American officials.
In a statement, the U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet said Revolutionary Guard vessels repeatedly crossed the bows and sterns of several American ships at close range and high speed.
The American vessels included the USS Paul Hamilton, a Navy destroyer, the USS Lewis B. Puller, a ship that serves as an afloat landing base, and the USCGC Maui. The ships were operating with U.S. Army Apache attack helicopters in international waters, the statement said.
The “dangerous and provocative actions increased the risk of miscalculation and collision ... and were not in accordance with the obligation under international law to act with due regard for the safety of other vessels in the area,” the statement said.
The Americans issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio, fired five short blasts from the ships’ horns and long-range acoustic noise maker devices, but received no immediate response, the statement said. After about an hour, the Iranian vessels responded to the bridge-to-bridge radio queries, then maneuvered away.
The Fars news agency acknowledged the incident in a report that did not include any comment from Iranian officials.