British and US navy ships rush to help a ship being ‘harassed’ by Iranian fast attack boats in the Strait of Hormuz
- HMS Lancaster and USS McFaul rushed to intercept the Iranian speedboats.
- The ships, manned by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, were harassing a merchant ship.
Royal Navy and US Navy ships scared off a group of Iranian military speedboats that were “harassing” a merchant ship in the Persian Gulf, the US Navy has revealed.
Three fast attack craft, manned by armed Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops, approached the merchant ship as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz on Sunday afternoon.
The US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul and the Royal Navy frigate HMS Lancaster responded to the incident, with the Lancaster launching a helicopter to deter Iranian ships from attempting to board the commercial ship.
The navy released a pair of images taken by a Boeing P-8 Poseidon, a reconnaissance plane that flew over the region to provide more information, showing a trio of small boats in pursuit of the merchant ship.
The Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf, sees 20% of the world’s oil pass through and is one of the most strategically important bottlenecks in the world.
While the Navy did not identify the vessel involved, MarineTraffic.com vessel tracking data analyzed by The Associated Press showed the Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier Venture erratically changed course while traveling through the strait in the time of incident.
Its location also matched information about the incident provided by UK Maritime Trade Operations, a British military operation that monitors traffic in the region.
The British frigate HMS Lancaster is seen sailing in the Strait of Hormuz. The Lancaster launched a helicopter to pursue the Iranian speedboats and discourage them from attempting to board the merchant ship.
Iranian speedboats are seen approaching within meters of the merchant vessel before they were chased away by UK and US Navy ships.
This still image taken from surveillance video of a US Navy Boeing P-8 Poseidon shows three Iranian Revolutionary Guard fast attack boats near a commercial ship in the Strait of Hormuz on Sunday, January 4. June 2023
“The situation was defused approximately one hour later when the merchant vessel confirmed that the fast attack craft left the scene,” the Navy said.
“The merchant ship continued to transit the Strait of Hormuz without further incident.”
The ship’s registered administrator, Trust Bulkers of Athens, Greece, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
There have been a series of maritime incidents involving Iran since the United States unilaterally withdrew from the Tehran nuclear deal with world powers in 2018.
The alleged US seizure of the Suez Rajan, a tanker linked to a US private equity firm believed to be carrying sanctioned Iranian crude off Singapore, likely prompted Tehran to recently seize the Marshall Islands-flagged tanker Advantage Sweet.
That ship was carrying Kuwaiti crude for the Chevron energy company. from San Ramon, California.
While authorities have not acknowledged the seizure of the Suez Rajan, the ship is now off the coast of Galveston, Texas, according to ship tracking data analyzed by AP.
Meanwhile, Iran separately captured the Niovi, a Panama-flagged tanker, as it left a dry dock in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, bound for Fujairah on the UAE’s east coast.
Although it was not carrying any cargo, S&P Global Market Intelligence data seen by AP showed that the Niovi in July 2020 received oil from a ship then known as the Oman Pride.
In August 2021, the US Treasury sanctioned the Oman Pride and others associated with the ship for being “involved in an international oil smuggling ring” that supported the Quds Force, the Guard expeditionary unit that operates throughout the Middle East.
Purported emails posted online by Wikiran, a website that requests leaked documents from the Islamic Republic, suggest that the cargo carried by Niovi was sold to companies in China without permission.
Satellite images reviewed by AP show those two ships anchored off Bandar Abbas, Iran.
I am Rakesh Sharma, I associated with Elite News as an Editor, since 2021. I take care of all the news operations like content, budget, hiring and policy making.