US Navy fires warning shots at Iranian attack crafts

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The United States 5th Fleet said in a statement that its Cyclone-class coastal patrol vessel USS Firebolt (PC 10) fired warning shots on three Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) fast inshore attack craft (FIAC) on April 26.

According to US 5th Fleet, the Iranian attack crafts “failed to exercise due regard for the safety of other vessels as required under international law as they came into close proximity to U.S. naval vessels in international waters of the north Arabian Gulf.”

“The IRGCN armed speed boats rapidly approached U.S. Navy patrol coastal ship USS Firebolt (PC 10) and U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat USCGC Baranof (WPB 1318) to an unnecessarily close range with unknown intent, including a closest point of approach (CPA) of 68 yards to both U.S. ships,” the US fleet said.

“The U.S. crews issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio and loud-hailer devices, but the IRGCN vessels continued their close range maneuvers.  The crew of Firebolt then fired warning shots, and the IRGCN vessels moved away to a safe distance from the U.S. vessels,” it added.

According to report, the US vessels were conducting routine maritime security operations in international waters during the time of incident.

“Throughout the interaction, U.S. forces proactively communicated with the IRGCN vessels and executed pre-planned responses to reduce the risk of miscalculation, avoid a collision, and to de-escalate the situation,” US 5th Fleet said.

“The IRGCN’s actions increased the risk of miscalculation and/or 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. In addition, the IRGCN actions were not in accordance with the obligation under international law to act with due regard for the safety of other vessels in the area,” it explained.