The U.S. Navy coastal patrol ship fired warning shots from its.50-caliber machine gun at an Iranian patrol boat when it came within 150 yards of the ship in the Persian Gulf, according to two U.S. defense officials.
The shots were fired after the Iranian vessel came to within 150 yards (137 meters) of the USS Thunderbolt and failed to respond to repeated attempts to reach it via radio, then ignored warning flares and a series of blasts on the United States ship's whistle, the Navy said in a statement.
In reply the IRGC third naval zone said that its forces neutralized the U.S. vessel's provocative move.
The encounter involving the USS Thunderbolt, a Cyclone-class patrol ship based in Bahrain as part of the US Navy's 5th Fleet, is the latest confrontation between Iranian vessels and American warships.
The vessel from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) "conducted an unsafe and unprofessional interaction" with the coastal patrol ship USS Thunderbolt as it participated in a military exercise in the worldwide waters of the northern Arabian Gulf.
The U.S. ship, the USS Thunderbolt, is a U.S. patrol ship. The U.S. Navy again has accused Iranian patrol boats of harassing an American warship in the Persian Gulf, this time with one Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessel stopping right in front of the USS Firebolt and almost causing a collision. The Iranian ship then halted its approach, concluding an event in which the Navy told Newsweek that Iran failed to comply with the 1972 International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs).
The incident is the latest in a series of close encounters between ships from the U.S. and Iran.
In January, the destroyer USS Mahan had fired a flare, warning sign, a ship of the Guardians of the iranian revolution which was approaching him. The US Navy recorded 35 instances of what it describes as "unsafe and/or unprofessional" interactions with Iranians forces in 2016, compared to 23 in 2015.