Sailors from the US and British navies came to the aid of a ship in the Strait of Hormuz “harassed” by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, the US Navy said Monday.
Three Guard fast attack craft what did they take armed troops on board they came within close range of the vessel on Sunday afternoon, the US Navy said in a statement.
The navy released black-and-white images it said came from a Boeing P-8 Poseidon aircraft that flew over the area, showing three small boats near the commercial ship.
The American guided missile destroyer USS McFaul and the British frigate HMS Lancaster responded to the incident and the Lancaster deployed a helicopter.
“The situation de-escalated approximately an hour later when the merchant ship confirmed that the fast attack craft had left the place”, indicated the Navy. “The merchant continued through the Strait of Hormuz without further incident.”.
20% of the world’s oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz, which gives access to the Persian Gulf.
Although the Navy did not identify the ship involved in the incident, tracking data from MarineTraffic.com analyzed by The Associated Press showed that the freighter Venture, registered in the Marshall Islands, it had changed course erratically as it passed through the strait at the time of the incident. Its location matched information on the incident provided by the UK’s Office of Commercial Maritime Operations, a British military entity that oversees shipping in the area. The appearance of the Venture also matched the images released by the Navy.
Iranian state media and the Revolutionary Guard did not mention the incident.. The Iranian delegation to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Since Washington unilaterally withdrew from Tehran’s nuclear deal with international powers in 2018, there have been a series of maritime incidents involving Iran.
The recent arrests of ships have added pressure on the United States, which has maintained security for the Persian Gulf nations for years. The United Arab Emirates claimed last week that it had “withdrawn its involvement” from a joint naval command called the Combined Maritime Forces, though the US Navy said it was still in the group.
Meanwhile, the US Army Central Command said on Saturday that its chief had visited the region, where he met with the Emirati leader, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and “discussed shared regional security concerns, as well as the United States-United Arab Emirates Security Collaboration.
Middle East-based commanders of the US, British and French navies sailed through the Strait of Hormuz aboard a US ship on Friday, in a gesture of their unified strategy to keep the crucial sea passage open after Iran intercepted the two tankers.
(With information from AP)
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