Iran says it seized 2 US unmanned vessels in Red Sea

On Tuesday, the US Navy said it had prevented the IRGC Navy from seizing an unmanned vessel.

 Screenshot of a video showing support ship Shahid Baziar, left, from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy unlawfully towing a Saildrone Explorer unmanned surface vessel (photo credit: US NAVY)
Screenshot of a video showing support ship Shahid Baziar, left, from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy unlawfully towing a Saildrone Explorer unmanned surface vessel
(photo credit: US NAVY)

Iran's Navy said Friday that it recently seized two US Navy "small data collection vessels" after it found them "abandoned on the international shipping route."

According to Iranian media, the Iranian Navy's Jamaran destroyer encountered several small data collection vessels and asked the controller of the equipment to "stop this type of behavior and move and change the direction of the movement."

However, after sailing around for a little longer, the destroyer found the vessels again and stopped and took control of the vessels before releasing them in order to ensure the safety of navigation. The Navy asked the controllers to "stop this type of behavior and move and change the direction of movement."

The vessel then encountered the vessels for a third time and "took action to control and stop the vessels in order to prevent possible terrorist incidents and prevented the occurrence of unforeseen incidents," according to the Iranian Fars News Agency.

The Iranian Navy claimed that the vessels were "sailing out of control, causing insecurity and jeopardizing the safety of vessels."

 A view of support ship Shahid Baziar from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy and Saildrone Explorer unmanned surface vessel in international waters of the Arabian Gulf, August 30, 2022.  (credit: US NAVY VIA REUTERS) A view of support ship Shahid Baziar from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy and Saildrone Explorer unmanned surface vessel in international waters of the Arabian Gulf, August 30, 2022. (credit: US NAVY VIA REUTERS)

After seizing the vessels, the Iranian Navy then left them in "a safe area" and the US Navy took them from there.

US Navy says it prevented IRGCN from seizing an unmanned vessel

On Tuesday, the US Navy announced that it had 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.

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.”