The U.S. Navy today released photographs and video of an April 2 incident in which Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRCGN) vessels harassed two U.S. Coast Guard patrol boats.
On April 2, says the Navy, the IRGCN vessel Harth 55, accompanied by three fast attack craft (FAC)/fast inshore attack craft (FIAC), approached U.S. Coast Guard patrol boats USCGC Wrangell (WPB 1332) and USCGC Monomoy (WPB 1326) while they were conducting routine maritime security patrols in the international waters of the southern Arabian Gulf.
The Harth 55 repeatedly crossed the bows of the U.S. vessels at an unnecessarily close range, including crossings of both Wrangell and Monomoy‘s bows at a 70 yard closest point of approach (CPA).
The Harth 55 closed aggressively on Wrangell‘s bow, resulting in Wrangell maneuvering to avoid collision while sounding five short blasts from the ship’s horn.
The U.S. 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 U.S. issuing warnings and conducting defensive maneuvers, the IRGCN vessels maneuvered away from the U.S. ships and opened the distance between them.
UNSAFE AND UNPROFESSIONAL
“The IRGCN’s actions were deemed unsafe and unprofessional,” says the Navy. “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.”
U.S. naval forces continue to remain vigilant and are trained to act in a professional manner, while commanding officers retain the inherent right to act in self-defense.
The USCGC vessels are assigned to Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA), the largest U.S. Coast Guard unit outside the United States, and operate under U.S. Naval Forces Central Command’s Task Force 55.