Iranian naval vessels challenged ships from the U.S. 5th Fleet sailing through the Strait of Hormuz on Monday, leading the U.S. to respond with warning flares.
Three Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy vessels (IRGCN) approached a U.S. convoy comprised of the coastal patrol ship USS Sirocco and the fast transport ship USNS Choctaw County, which were conducting a routine transit through the Strait of Hormuz, the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command 5th Fleet said in a statement.
“One of the IRGCN vessels approached Sirocco head-on at a dangerously high speed and only altered course after the U.S. patrol coastal ship issued audible warning signals to avoid collision. The Iranian vessel also came within 50 yards of the U.S. Navy ship during the interaction, and Sirocco responded by deploying a warning flare,” the statement declared.
“The full interaction among all vessels lasted one hour and ended when the IRGCN craft departed the area. U.S. Navy ships continued their transit without further incident,” the statement continued.
The Iranian Navy has long tested U.S. vessels traveling through the Strait of Hormuz. U.S. warships fired warning shots at Iranian boats during a similar encounter in May 2021.
Monday’s incident comes days before President Joe Biden travels to Saudi Arabia, where he is expected to negotiate to lower gas prices as well as reopen negotiations surrounding an Iran nuclear deal.