The United States Navy says it had to stop Iran from taking control of two oil tankers that were lawfully transiting international waters.
Both incidents happened hours apart on Wednesday in the Gulf of Oman, a key route for ships bringing oil from the Middle East to the rest of the world.
In both instances, a U.S. naval destroyer ship, USS McFaul (DDG 74), had to essentially chase Iranian ships away.
According to the U.S. Navy, an Iranian ship actually "fired multiple, long bursts from both small arms and crew-served weapons" and hit one of those vessels; fortunately, no one on board was hurt and the damages to the vessel were not significant.
"I couldn’t be prouder of the entire [U.S. Naval Forces Central Command] team, especially the exceptional effort by the McFaul crew, for immediately responding and preventing another seizure," said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. "We remain vigilant and ready to protect navigational rights in these critical waters."
The Navy says Iran has "harassed, attacked, or seized" about 20 international ships since 2021, and in May the U.S. increased the rotation of ships and aircraft patrolling the Strait of Hormuz — the narrow passage connecting the Persian Gulf that allows approximately 20% of the global crude oil transportation — following an uptick in Iranian merchant vessel seizures.
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