Four Iranian vessels near the Strait of Hormuz intercepted the guided missile destroyer USS Nitze that was operating in international waters alongside the USS Mason, Tuesday.
The USS Mason was intercepted by four Iranian vessels near the Strait of Hormuz which lies between the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf.
The Nitze and guided missile destroyer USS Mason were transiting international waters near the strait when approached by four Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps vessels at a high rate of speed, Stars and Stripes reported Wednesday.
The Nitze tried to communicate with the Iranians by radio 12 times, with no response. Two vessels continued toward the Nitze. Crewmembers then sounded the Nitze’s ship whistle, a naval signal meant to express that the ship is unclear about another vessel’s intentions. The destroyer then fired ten flares toward the Revolution Guard vessels, still without response. The Revolutionary Guard forced the Nitze to change course in order to avoid a potential collision. However, after coming near to 300 yards of the Nitze, the Iranian vessels left.
"We absolutely expect all maritime nations to act in a professional manner in accordance with international law," said Cmdr. Bill Urban, public affairs officer for US Naval Forces Central Command. "The US Navy continues to remain watchful, and is trained to respond in a professional manner for all interactions." Urban added.
Similar incident happened in January in which two US Navy patrol vessels drifted into Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf. Crewmembers were apprehended by the Revolutionary Guard and nearly sparked an international incident in the midst of the Iran nuclear negotiations.