On February 2, Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson reported that US Navy Commander Mark Davis, the commanding officer of the USS Mahan, the American destroyer that recently fired warning shots, said that the number of "unsafe and unprofessional" interactions jumped from 23 in 2015 to 35 last year, a troubling upswing.
"We tend to abide by the international rules of the sea and also the international norms and laws. And part of that is: if you're closing a vessel that you're supposed to, you know, establish communication, let them know what your intentions are and then you come to an agreement as to how you're going to pass so that it's not unsafe and does not make people nervous," Davis told The Associated Press.
Fox News reported over the summer, as four of those unsafe interactions occurred in just one week. Last month, after four Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy patrol boats approached it at the entrance to the Persian Gulf and ignored multiple warnings, the USS Mahan fired warning three warning shots, using .50-calibre machine guns.
Davis stated that they were within their right to act, as all boats should "abide by the international rules of the sea and also the international norms and laws.”
Davis added that the Iranians' actions were deemed "unsafe and unprofessional,” by The U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.
In 2015 the Iranian Navy provoked 23 unsafe and unprofessional interactions out of the 327 that occurred with them. Davis added that in 2016, the number increased to 35 out of 527.
So far in 2017 the USS Mahan has had eight interactions with the Iranians, with this the last one being unsafe, said the commander.
10 U.S. Navy sailors were seized by Iran's Revolutionary Guard, when their two patrol craft drifted into Iranian waters near Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf early last year. The following day, they were released.