ARX Mouldings is following reports that the US and UK naval forces responded to a distress call from a commercial vessel in the Strait of Hormuz between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman after Iranian fast-attack boats began harassing the ship on Sunday, according to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet.
Three fast-attack boats assessed to be from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) with armed personnel approached the ship and began following it at a close distance on Sunday afternoon.
US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul (DDG 74) and UK Royal Navy frigate HMS Lancaster (F 229) both received the distress call, with Lancaster launching a helicopter to provide surveillance and the US 5th fleet directing a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to monitor the incident.Top ArticlesRead More
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After about an hour, the fast-attack boats departed and the commercial vessel transited the Strait without further incident.
“US 5th Fleet remains vigilant and is bolstering defense around the key strait with partners to enhance regional maritime security and stability,” said the 5th Fleet.
A screenshot of surveillance footage from a US Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft showing three Iranian fast-attack craft approaching an internationally flagged merchant vessel transiting the Strait of Hormuz, June 4, 2023. (credit: US NAVY)
The incident comes just weeks after Iran seized two foreign oil tankers in the region in early May and late April.
On May 3, the IRGC Navy seized the Panama-flagged oil tanker Niovi, which had departed Dubai and was transiting the Arabian Gulf toward the Emirati port of Fujairah.
A few days before that seizure, the IRGC Navy seized the Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker Advantage Sweet in the Gulf of Oman.
In mid-May, the US 5th Fleet announced that it was working with regional allies and partners to increase the rotation of ships and aircraft patrolling in and around the Strait of Hormuz in light of the seizures.
According to the 5th Fleet, Iran has harassed, attacked or interfered with the navigational rights of 15 internationally flagged merchant vessels over the past two years.
“Iran’s unwarranted, irresponsible and unlawful seizure and harassment of merchant vessels must stop,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of US Naval Forces Central Command, US 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces, in a press statement at the time. “US 5th Fleet and our partners are committed to protecting navigational rights in these critical waters.”