Boats nearing cargo ship in Persian Gulf get machine gun warning
CAIRO, Egypt — A civilian ship contracted by the U.S. military fired warning shots at two small boats that approached it in the Persian Gulf, the U.S. Navy said Friday, the latest in a string of incidents to trigger concern in Washington.
The Navy said it does not know whether the two boats that approached the Western Venture cargo ship on Thursday were from Iran.
The Western Venture was headed north in international waters in the central Gulf when it was approached by two small boats of unknown origin, said Cmdr. Lydia Robertson, spokeswoman for the 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain.
“Following proper procedures, Western Venture issued standard queries to the small boats via bridge-to-bridge radio but received no response,” she said. “Western Venture then activated a flare but again did not receive a response.”
The boats continued toward the ship, and the ship’s security team fired warning shots with .50-caliber machine guns and M-16s into the water in front of the small vessels, causing them to leave the area, she said.