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US Navy ship fires warnings at Iranian ship

US Navy ship fires warnings at Iranian ship

A U.S. Navy patrol boat fired on an Iranian military ship Tuesday as it made an alarmingly fast and close approach in the Persian Gulf, marking the latest aggressive encounter between the two adversaries.

A ships whistle is the internationally recognized communications signal for danger.

The Iranian vessel is thought to have been part of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and is believed to have been armed, although the United States said the weapons were unmanned.

Ultimately, the vessel came within 150 yards of the Thunderbolt.

The warning shots were fired into the water, out of concerns of a possible collision.

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Tense naval encounters are not uncommon between Iranian and U.S. forces in the Gulf: Ten U.S. sailors were detained by the Iranian military in January 2016.

According to the US statement, the Iranian boat approached the USS Thunderbolt, coming within 137 meters (150 yards). The action was described by the USA military as "unsafe and unprofessional".

The Thunderbolt was taking part in an exercise with American and other coalition vessels in global waters when the Iranian patrol boat approached it, 5th Fleet spokesman Lt. Ian McConnaughey said. They included the Ticonderoga-class cruiser Vella Gulf, the Coast Guard Island-class patrol boats Maui and Aquidneck, and an Army logistic support vessel, the James A. Loux.

That wasn't the case in January, when the Mahan fired warning shots after five Iranian vessels approached the destroyer and two other US entering the Strait of Hormuz. "This type of behavior is not in accordance with global law and created an unnecessary risk of collision that could have led to potential miscalculation and escalation".

The Iranian ship stopped, but remained in the area for several hours. "It is our desire to see more of that type of behavior going forward".

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