The US Navy said Tuesday that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy conducted itself in an “unsafe and unprofessional” manner after several of its vessels passed in a close range to two US Coast Guard ships earlier this month in the Persian Gulf.
According to the US Navy, on April 2, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) Harth 55, accompanied by three fast attack craft / fast inshore attack craft, approached U.S. Coast Guard patrol boats USCGC Wrangell and USCGC Monomoy while the US vessels were conducting routine maritime security patrols in the international waters of the southern Arabian Gulf.
“The Harth 55 repeatedly crossed the bows of the US vessels at an unnecessarily close range, including crossings of both Wrangell and Monomoy’s bows at a 70 yard closest point of approach,” the US Navy said.
The US crews issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio, five short blasts from the ships’ horns, and while the Harth 55 responded to the bridge-to-bridge radio queries, they continued the unsafe maneuvers.
After approximately three hours of the US issuing warnings and conducting defensive maneuvers, the IRGCN vessels maneuvered away from the US ships and opened the distance between them.
The US Navy said the IRGCN’s actions were deemed unsafe and unprofessional. Their actions increased the risk of miscalculation and 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, 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.
“US naval forces continue to remain vigilant and are trained to act in a professional manner, while our commanding officers retain the inherent right to act in self-defense,” the US Navy said.
The USCGC ships are assigned to Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA), the largest US Coast Guard unit outside the United States, and operate under U.S. Naval Forces Central Command’s Task Force 55.