The Iranian vessel approached within 150 yards of the coastal patrol ship USS Thunderbolt and did not respond to attempts to establish communications, officials said.
The Thunderbolt crew then fired warning flares and sounded the internationally recognised danger signal of five short blasts on the ship’s whistle, but the Iranian vessel continued inbound, officials said.
According to a statement released by the US Navy:
“As the Iranian vessel proceeded toward the U.S. ship, the crew again sounded five short blasts before firing warning shots in front of the Iranian vessel.”
The Iranian vessel halted its approach after the warning shots were fired, officials said, noting that the Iranian vessel’s actions were not in accordance with internationally recognised “rules of the road,” nor with internationally recognised maritime customs, thus creating a risk for collision.
The USS Thunderbolt is a Cyclone class patrol ship. The primary mission of these ships is coastal patrol and interdiction surveillance, which according to the US Navy is an important aspect of littoral operations outlined in the Navy’s strategy, “Forward…From the Sea.”
These ships also provide full mission support for U.S. Navy SEALs and other special operations forces.