British and US navy ships chase off Iranian attack boats ‘harassing’ vessel

A Royal Navy and US warship had to come to the aid of a merchant vessel in the crucial Strait of Hormuz on Sunday after an Iranian military group began “harassing it”, the US Navy has revealed. Three fast-attack Guard vessels with armed troops from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a branch of the Iranian military, approached the merchant ship at a close distance on Sunday afternoon, the US Navy said in a statement.

The Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf, sees 20 per cent of the world’s oil pass through it. Iran’s southern border runs along its entirety.

The US Navy’s guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul and the Royal Navy’s frigate HMS Lancaster responded to the incident, with the Lancaster launching a helicopter.

“The situation deescalated approximately an hour later when the merchant vessel confirmed the fast-attack craft departed the scene,” the Navy said.

“The merchant ship continued transiting the Strait of Hormuz without further incident.”

It later offered black-and-white images it said came from the US Navy Boeing P-8 Poseidon overhead, which showed three small ships close to the commercial ship.

While the Navy did not identify the vessel involved, ship-tracking data from analysed by The Associated Press showed the Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier Venture erratically changed course as it travelled through the strait at the time of the incident.

Its location also matched information about the incident given by the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, a British military operation overseeing traffic in the region. The vessel also resembled the images released by the Navy.

The ship’s registered manager, Trust Bulkers of Athens, Greece, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Iranian state media and the Revolutionary Guard did not immediately acknowledge the incident. Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment either.

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

A spate of recent Iranian ship seizures have put new pressure on the US, the long-standing security guarantor for Gulf Arab nations.

The United Arab Emirates claimed last week it earlier “withdrew its participation” from a joint naval command called the Combined Maritime Forces, though the US Navy said it was still in the group.

Meanwhile, the US military’s Central Command said on Saturday its chief visited the region, met with Emirati leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and “discussed shared regional security concerns as well as U.S. and UAE security partnerships”.

The Mideast-based commanders of the US, British and French navies last month also transited the Strait of Hormuz aboard an American warship, a sign of their unified approach to keep the crucial waterway open after Iran seized the two oil tankers.

Don’t miss…
Iran successfully launches missile with 1,200-mile range[REPORT]
Iran unveils its new ballistic missiles as tensions escalate with the West[REVEAL]
Top Iranian security official replaced days after British-Iranian ally executed[LATEST]

Source: Read Full Article