[Ed. – They do know when CENTCOM is there. This happened before in July 2016, when General Votel was visiting USS New Orleans (LPD-18) — also an amphibious ship, although of a different class from USS Essex (LHD-2). This time, however, there is no report that the encounter was anything other than “safe and professional.”]
Two Iranian fast boats approached the U.S. Wasp-class amphibious assault ship Essex on Friday while it was operating in the Persian Gulf, according to U.S. defense officials.
The commander of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Joseph Votel, was on board the Essex at the time of the incident, officials have confirmed.
“Today’s interaction with U.S. 5th Fleet forces and the IRGCN [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy] was characterized as safe and professional,” U.S. Naval Forces Central Command told Marine Corps Times in an emailed statement. “The U.S. Navy continues to operate wherever international law allows.”
The IRGCN has a history of harassing U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf — an activity some analysts have noted recently has decreased.