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 on Monday night, US Central Command said in a statement on Tuesday, as quoted by CNN.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps patrol boat acted in an “unsafe and unprofessional manner,” CENTCOM said, adding the behavior violated international standards for safe maritime behavior.
The guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans and expeditionary sea base platform ship USS Lewis B. Puller deescalated the situation by using audible warnings and non-lethal lasers, according to CENTCOM. The ships were transiting through international waters in the strategic waterway when the incident occurred.
“This dangerous action in international waters is indicative of Iran’s destabilizing activity across the Middle East,” CENTCOM spokesman Col. Joe Buccino said in the statement, according to CNN.
“The Iranian vessel attempted to blind the bridge by shining a spotlight and crossed within 150 yards of the US ships – dangerously close, particularly at night,” the statement added.
The incident is the latest in a series of incidents involving US and Iranian ships in the Gulf.
In 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.
In June, three vessels controlled by the IRGC buzzed two American ships at what the US military called “dangerously high speed”.
The Revolutionary Guard typically patrols the shallower waters of the Persian Gulf and its narrow mouth, the Strait of Hormuz.
One such incident in May of 2020 included a tense encounter between US and Iranian ships in the Persian Gulf.
The US military said at the time that 11 Revolutionary Guards naval vessels from the Guards navy came close to US Navy and coast guard ships in the Gulf, calling the moves “dangerous and provocative”.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard acknowledged that the incident had taken place, but also claimed that it was American forces who sparked the incident.
In April of 2020, a spokesman for the Iranian Armed Forces said that the Islamic Republic will respond “severely” if US vessels violate its territorial waters.