According to Stars and Stripes a U.S. Coast Guard small boat team fired on a Iranian flagged dhow which is a medium-sized sail boat that is commonly used by Pirates in the region. They only fired on the boat after the dhow’s crew aimed a .50-caliber machine gun at the approaching Coast Guard vessel which was conducting routine patrols of the area.
According to U.S. officials the incident took place in international waters and the U.S. was only acting in self-defense.
It’s being reported that both vessels were in communication with each other, when contact was lost the USCG sent a small patrol boat to investigate, according to Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, U.S. 5th Fleet spokesman. From Stars and Stripes:
The small boat crew observed that the dhow had two .50-caliber machine guns, with one manned during the approach. When the dhow’s gunner aimed and charged the weapon at the approaching U.S. personnel, the small boat crew immediately turned away from the dhow, and its gunner fired one round, Stephens said.
“This action by the dhow’s crew demonstrated hostile intent, which resulted in the defensive fire by the Coast Guardsmen,” Stephens said in a written response to a query from Stars and Stripes.
He said it wasn’t known whether the fired round struck the dhow or any of its crew members. The dhow did not respond to the shot fired and left the area without any further communication.