As the Iranian ship approached the U.S. ship, it did not respond to repeated attempts to establish radio communications, heed to warning flares or to the internationally recognized danger signal of five short blasts on the ship's whistle, according to the U.S. Naval Forces, Central Command. There were several US Navy ships in the immediate vicinity at the time of the incident conducting routine patrol operations in worldwide waters, according to the defense officials.
The incident happened Tuesday as a formation of U.S. Navy warships was doing an exercise in the Northern Persian Gulf. "After the warning shots were fired, the Iranian vessel halted its unsafe approach".
The incident is the latest in a series of close encounters between ships from the United States and Iran.
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The USS Thunderbolt was transiting with the USS Vella Gulf, a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser, and two other U.S. Coast guard vessels at the time, according to CNN. Last month, an Iranian vessel aimed a laser at a US helicopter as it traveled with Pentagon warships in global waters in the Strait of Hormuz.
But in a statement issued via the IRGC's news site Sepah, it was the American "battleship" which moved towards one of Iran's patrol boats.
Iran's hard-line Revolutionary Guard later blamed the American ship for provoking the incident. No warning shots were fired.
As the video shows, the Thunderbolt responded by firing short bursts from its machine-gun to the front of the Iranian vessel, until it veered away. They in turn have accused the US Navy of unprofessional behaviour, especially in the Strait of Hormuz, the mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a third of all oil trade by sea passes.