In a tense show of power and rapid response on Wednesday, the U.S. Navy successfully obstructed an audacious attempt by Iranian vessels to commandeer two commercial oil tankers off the coast of Oman. It’s the latest example of Iran’s ongoing and brazen aggression against international maritime security.
Acting promptly to a distress call, the guided missile destroyer USS McFaul halted the attempt on the Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker TRF Moss. As the Iranian ship approached at 1 a.m. local time, the swift arrival of the USS McFaul sent it fleeing, marking a commendable demonstration of American military effectiveness.
IRAN UPDATE: Iran tried to seize two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz early Wednesday, firing shots at one of them, the U.S. Navy said. https://t.co/jkffionlP7
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) July 5, 2023
But the night wasn’t over for the USS McFaul and her crew. Three hours later, another distress call led the naval destroyer to another tanker, the Bahamian-flagged Richmond Voyager. Iranian naval forces were unleashing a hail of gunfire, using small arms and crew-served weapons against the ship.
Reacting with commendable efficiency, the USS McFaul surged toward the Richmond Voyager at “maximum speed,” causing the second Iranian vessel to withdraw when it was a mere mile from its intended target. Thankfully, the tanker’s crew remained unharmed, and the ship suffered only minor damage. Chevron, the U.S. oil giant that controls the Richmond Voyager, confirmed this, reporting that the crew emerged from the situation safely.
Following these confrontations, Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet, applauded his team for their exemplary actions, stating, “We remain vigilant and ready to protect navigational rights in these critical waters.” U.S. naval forces stand prepared to respond quickly and effectively to defend our interests and those of our allies in the region.
While Tehran has not yet commented on the incident, the United States and the international community are increasingly alert to Iran’s destabilizing actions in these crucial sea lanes. According to the 5th Fleet, “Since 2021, Iran has harassed, attacked or seized nearly 20 internationally flagged merchant vessels, presenting a clear threat to regional maritime security and the global economy.”
Furthermore, the seizure of two foreign oil tankers in June underscores the seriousness of the situation. This event prompted increased patrols by U.S. Naval forces and allied navies in the Strait of Hormuz. The Strait, a chokepoint between Oman and Iran, carries approximately one-fifth of the world’s sea-borne oil supply.
This week’s events reveal an escalating threat posed by Iran in critical global shipping lanes. The United States, however, has shown that it stands ready to protect its interests and defend international maritime rights. Our brave men and women in uniform continue to uphold their commitment to preserve the global order and push back against attempts to disrupt the international maritime industry, underscoring the essential role of American might in maintaining world security.