An Iranian warship fired on a commercial oil tanker in international waters in the Gulf of Oman Wednesday as the U.S. Navy prevented Iranian vessels from seizing two commercial ships.
At about 4 a.m. local time, an Iranian warship approached a Bahamian-flagged oil tanker within a mile and hailed the tanker to stop. As seen in video released by U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, the personnel on the Iranian ship fired on the tanker with "multiple, long bursts from both small arms and crew-served weapons." No crew members on the tanker were harmed and the ship did not sustain significant damage, according to a statement from Central Command. The statement said, however, "several rounds" hit the tanker’s hull, near crewmember living areas.
The USS McFaul, a guided missile destroyer, headed toward the tanker at maximum speed. When the U.S. destroyer arrived in the area, the Iranian ship left.
Only three hours earlier, an Iranian Navy vessel approached a Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker. The Iranian ship left the area when the USS McFaul, an MQ-9 Reaper drone, and a P-8 Poseidon patrol plane entered the area to prevent the tanker from being seized.
The incident comes roughly a month after allies called on the United States to strengthen its deterrence against Iranian seizures of oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. After the Islamic Republic seized two tankers in two months, the United Arab Emirates asked the United States to help restore confidence in the security of the Persian Gulf, where one-third of the world’s oil passes through.
Published under: Iran