The U.S. Navy has released video showing four Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps vessels harassing the guided missile destroyer USS Nitze.
An American sailor can be heard saying the Iranian boats were acting in an “unsafe” and “unprofessional” manner by conducting a high-speed intercept and closing within a short distance — some 300 yards — of the Nitze despite repeated warnings from the ship as she transited international waters on Tuesday in the vicinity of the Strait of Hormuz.
The Arleigh Burke class destroyer (DDG 94) — which was traveling with another, the USS Mason (DDG 87) attempted radio communication, sounded her horn and fired a total of 10 flares at the Iranian boats to warn them away. In another incident on Wednesday, a U.S. coastal patrol ship, the USS Squall, went so far as to fire three warnings shots, my colleague Richard Sisk reported at Military.com.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards vessels have harassed U.S. ships in the area before.
In a particularly high profile incident in January, they captured a crew of 10 American sailors after one of their two small riverine command boats strayed into Iranian waters during a transit from Kuwait to Bahrain. The incident triggered a political uproar in the U.S., with lingering questions about the Obama administration’s decision to withhold funding to Iran to ensure the prisoners’ release.
An investigation concluded Lt. David Nartker, the only officer among the 10 sailors, failed to take decisive action when detained and had acted improperly in surrendering the two boats. Meanwhile, a petty officer second class, the only female sailor among the 10 who were detained, on Aug. 3 received the Navy Commendation Medal in recognition of her efforts to summon help under the noses of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard members who captured the crews.
–Hope Hodge Seck contributed to this report.