Details have been released by the United States (US) Navy about an operation to assist a merchant vessel that was being harassed by fast-attack boats belonging to Iran.
Alongside United Kingdom (UK) Royal Navy forces the US responded to distress calls from the ship that was transitioning the Strait of Hormuz on June 4, 2023.
According to the US the ship asked for assistance around 4:56 pm local time while travelling through the narrow strait, which lies off the coast of Iran
The civilian crew reported that three fast-attack boats with armed personnel approached and followed the ship at a close distance.
Assessment of the three boats led to the US Navy concluding they belonged to the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps navy.
The distress calls were picked up by the US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul (DDG 74) and the UK frigate HMS Lancaster (F 229)
The UK craft launched a helicopter to assess the incident and gather intelligence, while the US 5th Fleet directed a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to monitor the scene.
According to a statement from the US 5th Fleet the incident deescalated around an hour later when the merchant ship confirmed the Iranian boats had left.
The vessel was able to transition through the rest of the strait without further problems.
Grainy black and white photos of the incident were also shared by the US Navy in which a number of fast boats can be seen surrounding a much larger ship.
“US 5th Fleet remains vigilant and is bolstering defense around the key strait with partners to enhance regional maritime security and stability,” the US Navy said.