The ‘USS Mahan’ destroyer apparently tried to establish contact with the approaching Iranian vessels and asked them to reduce their speed, but they did not respond, according to unnamed officials quoted by the news outlet.
The incident took place on Sunday.
According to Reuters, Iranian ships came as close as 800 meters (2,624ft) to the ‘USS Mahan’, which had been guarding other US vessels.
In late November, a small Iranian vessel pointed its gun at a US Navy chopper in the Strait of Hormuz, the Pentagon announced at the time. The incident happened in international waters, US military officials noted.
The encounters are just the latest in a spate of similar incidents involving the Iranian and US Navies in 2016. In July, the ‘USS New Orleans’ and its escort ship, the ‘USS Stout’, a guided missile destroyer, were approached by several Iranian vessels whose crews filmed the sailors.
The most widely-reported case, however, occurred in January 2016, when 10 US sailors were taken into custody after their boats crossed into Iranian waters. Footage later emerged showing US servicemen kneeling on the deck of the patrol boat with their hands up, and later seated in a room being given tea and food by the Iranians. The Pentagon later announced that the US sailors had crossed into Iranian waters due to a malfunction in navigation equipment.
The Strait of Hormuz is located between the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf. It is the only seaway from the Persian Gulf to the open ocean and is among the world’s key maritime ‘choke points.’
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