The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Nitze was “harassed” by four Iranian Revolutionary Guard small craft on Tuesday, some of them coming as close as 300 yards to the ship as it was in the vicinity of the Strait of Hormuz, a Department of Defense official said today.
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The official characterized the encounter as “unsafe and unprofessional” and said the four Iranian speed boats "came way too close for comfort."
“Four Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGCN) vessels harassed the guided missile destroyer USS Nitze (DDG 94) by conducting a high-speed intercept and closing within a short distance of Nitze despite repeated warnings as Nitze transited international waters in the vicinity of the Strait of Hormuz Aug. 23,” the defense official said.
The crew of the Nitze fired flares and sounded the ship's horn to warn the small craft, but they continued to approach the ship from the side, the official said.
In video of the encounter recorded aboard the Nitze, an unidentified voice can be heard narrating the Iranian boats' fast approach.
"Full visual contact on four Iranian Push WPB," said the narrator, who describes the approach in real time.
"Bridge to bridge comms were conducted, no response," the narrator continued as he described how the weapons aboard the Iranian craft had been "uncovered."
The warning flares fired from the ship are visible in the video and warnings from the ship's horn can be heard in the background.
Iranian harassment of American vessels in the Strait of Hormuz is nothing new. In mid-July, Iranian craft harassed the USS New Orleans as it played host to General Joseph Votel, who, as the commander of U.S. Central Command, is the top U.S. military commander in the Middle East.