Iran Says It Confronted, Turned Away U.S. Vessel In Persian Gulf; U.S. NAVCENT Denies

Sunday, September 10, 2017
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
ZeroHedge.com
Sep 10, 2017

An Iranian warship confronted an American warship in the Gulf and warned it to stay away from a damaged Iranian fishing boat, Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported on Sunday, but the U.S. Navy denied any direct contact with Iranian forces. The incident took place when Iranian fishing boat Shams suffered an engine malfunction 72km off the coast of the Iranian port town of Jask, near the Strait of Hormuz, Iran news agencies reported on Sunday.

The vessel was requesting the navy’s help, and Iranian missile-launching warship Falakhan was sent on a rescue mission.

Shortly after the distress signal, a US warship “with the body number 02” approached the boat, but “it was shooed away after receiving a warning” from the Iranian missile-launching warship, Falakhan, according to Fars. As Reuters adds, “the American vessel turned away after the warning from the Iranian ship, which belonged to the naval branch of the Iranian army. The Iranian military vessel then towed the fishing boat, which had sent out a distress signal after taking on water, back to shore.”

Iranian media did not specify when the incident, close to the strategic Strait of Hormuz, took place.

Later on Sunday, the US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) denied any direct contact with Iranian forces, Reuters reported. According to the US Navy, the USS Tempest, the second Cyclone-class patrol ship, which was operating in the Gulf of Oman September 6, received a distress call from an unidentified vessel. The boat was 75 nautical miles (138km) from the US vessel.

At the same time the motor vessel Nordic Voyager, much closer to the boat in distress, offered help and had made visual contact with it. The Nordic Voyager, a crude oil tanker, is currently sailing under the flag of the Cayman Islands, according to vesselfinder.com.

The Tempest offered to support the Nordic Voyager which declined the offer, NAVCENT said. Following the radio traffic from a distance, USS Tempest heard the Nordic Voyager coordinate additional Iranian Navy help for the vessel in distress to tow it back to Iran.

“At no time was there any direct contact between the US and Iranian maritime forces,” NAVCENT spokesman Chloe Morgan said, as cited by Reuters.

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