Iranian speedboats pursue San Diego-based warship

4:54 p.m., Jan. 13, 2012
The New Orleans is carrying members of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is based at Camp Pendleton. US Navy

The Navy says that three small Iranian speedboats chased the San Diego-based amphibious transport dock New Orleans near the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz, but it does not appear that they were trying to provoke a fight in the Persian Gulf with the huge American warship.
The Defense Department released footage of Iranian gunboats pursuing the New Orleans. Defense Department

The incident comes about a week after Iran announced that the American carrier Stennis should stay out of the straits, which is a key pathway for the transportation of oil. US defense officials said they will ignore Iran's threat.

In a statement released Friday, the Navy says that three Iranian speedboats raced within 500 to 700 yards of the 684-foot New Orleans on Jan. 6th. The New Orleans is embarked on its first deployment and is carrying members of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit from Camp Pendleton.

The U.S. Coast Guard ship Adak also was chased by Iranian boats, authorities said.

Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jane Campbell told Reuters, "This interaction between U.S. naval vessels and the Iranian vessels is commonplace. There is nothing in these that shows any kind of hostile intent."

The speed boats can carry automatic weapons. But their firepower is dwarfed by the New Orleans, which typically carries 30mm Bushmaster II guns and RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missiles. The ship also can rapidly deploy armed units in small high speed boats. and contributed to this report.

Iranian speedboats pursue San Diego-based warship |