Iranian boats swarm US warship, force it to change course in Persian Gulf
Stars and Stripes | .
published: September 07, 2016
WASHINGTON – An American warship was forced off course after seven Iranian fast attack boats swarmed it Sunday in the central Persian Gulf, continuing a recent pattern of Iranian harassment of U.S. military ships, a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday.
One of the small Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps watercraft stopped directly in the USS Firebolt’s path where it turned to face the American coastal patrol ship, said U.S. Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. After several attempts at radio communication, the Firebolt was forced to maneuver to avoid a collision. The American ship came within about 100 yards of the boat.
It was at least the fifth time in the last two weeks the Revolutionary Guard boats, controlled by hard-line, anti-American clerics close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, harassed U.S. Navy ships. In one of those incidents, another American coastal patrol ship, the USS Squall, fired three warning shots before the Iranian boats fled. In the previous encounters, the closest the two sides had come was about 200 yards, military officials have said.
A 2011 file photo of the coastal patrol ship USS Firebolt during an exercise in the Persian Gulf.
Walter M. Wayman/U.S. Navy
“This is clearly a pattern, and it is one we are not happy about,” Davis said on Tuesday. “We would like to see this type of behavior to stop.”