The US Navy prevented a support ship from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) from capturing an unmanned surface vessel belonging to the US 5th Fleet in the Arabian Gulf on Monday night, the navy announced on Tuesday.
On Monday night, the US 5th Fleet spotted an IRGCN support ship called Shahid Baziar towing a Saildrone Explorer unmanned surface vessel. The US Navy patrol coastal ship USS Thunderbolt was operating nearby and responded immediately.
An MH-60S Sea Hawk was also launched from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26, based in Bahrain.
The IRGCN vessel disconnected the towing line and departed the area about four hours later. The US Navy resumed operations without further incident.
“IRGCN’s actions were flagrant, unwarranted and inconsistent with the behavior of a professional maritime force,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of US Naval Forces Central Command, US 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces. “US naval forces remain vigilant and will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows while promoting rules-based international order throughout the region.”