The U.S. military is warning that Iranian naval forces may
increase “aggressive actions” against American and allied commercial ships,
citing reports from crews that experienced navigation and communications
“Vessels have reported GPS interference, bridge-to-bridge
communications spoofing, and/or other communications jamming with little to no
warning,” U.S. Central Command said in a statement Wednesday night that
suggested Iranian forces may be attempting to steer ships into its waters to
provoke a confrontation.
The warning was delivered in a statement that also cited an
advisory from the Transportation Department’s Maritime Administration. It
set out procedures consistent with a new joint effort by the U.S. and U.K. to
protect shipping in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, a chokepoint for
oil shipping in the region.
U.S.-flagged ships to
notify U.S. and U.K. in a single email
when transiting the region
The advisory said crews of U.S.-flagged ships should notify both
the U.S. and the U.K. in a single email when transiting the region.
If Iranian forces attempt to board U.S.-flag vessels, the
Maritime Administration said, the crew should identify the ship, “affirm that
they are proceeding in according with international law” and “immediately
inform the U.S. Fifth Fleet Battle Watch.”
If Iranians demand to
board the Master to decline permission
If Iranians demand to board, the agency added, “the ship’s
Master should, if the safety of the ship and crew would not be compromised,
UK on intl mission to
protect shipping in the Gulf
The U.K. announced on Monday, 5 August, that it’s “spearheading”
an international mission to protect shipping in the Gulf, working with the U.S.
Earlier: U.K. to Join U.S. in Coalition to Protect Ships in
Other nations blame
Other nations have balked at joining a U.S.-led effort because
they blame President Donald Trump for inflaming tensions when he quit the 2015
multinational accord that eased economic sanctions on Iran in return for curbs
on its nuclear program.