Iranian Patrol Boat Tries to Temporarily Blind US Navy Ships

US Central Command decries 'unsafe and unprofessional' incident
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2022 12:57 AM CST
Iranian Patrol Boat Tries to Temporarily Blind US Navy Ships
In a Friday, September 27, 2019 photo, family members board the USS The Sullivans, a guided missile destroyer.   (Will Dickey/The Florida Times-Union via AP)

In what US Central Command is calling an "unsafe and unprofessional" incident in the Strait of Hormuz Monday night, an Iranian patrol boat tried to temporarily blind two US Navy ships. The US ships were transiting international waters in what Yahoo News calls a routine crossing when the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps patrol boat shone a spotlight toward the guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans and expeditionary sea base platform ship USS Lewis B. Puller as it passed within 150 yards of them. The US ships deescalated the situation by deploying non-lethal lasers and issuing audible warnings, CNN reports. CENTCOM says the Iranian actions violated international standards for safe maritime behavior.

"This dangerous action in international waters is indicative of Iran’s destabilizing activity across the Middle East," a CENTCOM spokesperson says in a statement. "The Iranian vessel attempted to blind the bridge by shining a spotlight and crossed within 150 yards of the US ships—dangerously close, particularly at night." CNN notes that this type of "tense interaction at sea" between Iran and the US is "not uncommon," but that this particular incident comes at a time when relations between the two countries are significantly challenging. The incident is at least the third time in recent weeks that Iranian influence in waters off the coasts of Middle Eastern countries has been reported by US forces. (Read more Iran stories.)

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