BATH, Maine — An Arleigh Burke-class destroyer built at Bath Iron Works in the 1990s fired three warning shots at Iranian ships near the Strait of Hormuz on Sunday after they approached the U.S. vessel at high speed and refused to slow down.
The USS Mahan had established radio contact with the four Iranian fast-attack vessels as they “closed in at high speed,” Reuters reported, but were unable to get the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps boats to slow down.
U.S. defense officials, speaking to Reuters on conditions of anonymity, said the Iranian ships came within 900 yards of the U.S. Navy destroyer, which was escorting other U.S. military ships.
“This was an unsafe and unprofessional interaction, and that is due to the fact that they were approaching at a high level of speed with weapons manned and disregarded repeated warnings,” Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said, according to Reuters.
The White House said the Iranian vessels had behaved in an unacceptable manner and that such incidents risked increasing tensions.
“At this point, the United States does not know what the intentions of the Iranian vessels were, but the behavior is not acceptable given that the USS Mahan was operating in international waters,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said during a press conference on Monday.
The USS Mahan (DDG 72) is an Arleigh Burke-class AEGIS destroyer built at the Bath shipyard and delivered to the Navy on Aug. 22, 1997. The Mahan is homeported in Norfolk, Virginia
The destroyer deployed from Naval Station Norfolk in November 2016, and it was expected to be deployed for six months in the Navy’s 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operations, 13News Now, a Norfolk-based ABC affiliate reported at the time.