The Department of Defense is reporting that three U.S. Navy vessels took evasive actions after five Iranian boats buzzed the ships transiting the Straits of Hormuz yesterday.
DoD spokesman Bryan Whitman called the Iranian provocation “a serious incident.” He said the Iranian boats approached at “distances and speed that showed reckless, dangerous and potentially hostile intent,” he said.
The incident lasted about 15 to 20 minutes, he said. The Navy ships were going into the Persian Gulf when the Iranian boats confronted them.
“Small, Iranian fast boats made some aggressive maneuvers against our vessels and indicated some hostile intent,” Whitman said. “This required our vessels to issue warnings and conduct some evasive maneuvers. The U.S. Navy vessels were prepared to take appropriate actions, but there was no engagement of the vessels.”
Bridge-to-bridge radio communications between the Iranian vessels and the U.S. Navy ships reinforced this impression of aggression.
According to CNN, the captain of one US vessel was in the process of giving the order to shoot when the Iranian ships began turning away.
The U.S. ships were operating in international waters within the Straits of Hormuz. The ships are the USS Port Royal, USS Hopper and USS Ingraham. U.S. warships will take all the precautions needed to safely transit the open waters of the straits, the Pentagon spokesman said.
“This is reckless and dangerous behavior on the part of the Iranian vessels, and it should cease immediately,” Whitman added.
Small boats such as these are typically under command of Revolutionary Guards, U.S. Navy officials said.
The U.S. ships “did take appropriate action in terms of maneuvering and communicating, and were prepared to take further action if necessary. The Defense Department will work with White House and State Department officials to come up with the appropriate way to address the incident with the Iranian government” Whitman said.