USS Thunderbolt fires warning shots after Iranian vessel comes within 150 yards

In one of Iran’s more daring challenges to U.S. Navy vessels operating in the Persian Gulf, an Iranian naval vessel came within 150 yards of a U.S. Navy ship forcing it to fire warning shots.

According to the U.S. Central Command, coastal patrol ship USS Thunderbolt was operating in international waters of the Persian Gulf on July 25 when the Iranian ship approached.

After the Iranian vessel failed to respond to attempts to establish radio communications or subsequent whistle blasts and warning flares, the Thunderbolt crew was forced to fire warning shots.

The Iranian vessel halted its approach after the warning shots were fired, officials said, noting that the Iranian vessel’s actions were not in accordance with internationally recognized “rules of the road,” nor with internationally recognized maritime customs, thus creating a risk for collision.

Iranian navy and revolutionary guard corps vessels challenged the U.S. Navy in the past but Tuesday’s provocation, deemed “an unsafe and unprofessional interaction” by U.S. officials, could be described as particularly bold considering how close the Iranian vessel to the U.S. ship. During previous run-ins, Iranian vessels usually came within between 300 and 1000 yards before being chased away or breaking off the approach, according to U.S. officials


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