June 7, 2023 | Flash Brief

Iran Hijacking Attempt Thwarted by U.S. and British Navies

June 7, 2023 | Flash Brief

Iran Hijacking Attempt Thwarted by U.S. and British Navies

Latest Developments

The U.S. Navy and the UK Royal Navy aided a ship in the Strait of Hormuz on June 4 being harassed by fast-attack vessels from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN). The U.S. Navy’s guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul and the Royal Navy’s frigate HMS Lancaster responded to distress calls sent by the Marshall Island-flagged cargo ship known as the Venture. The IRGCN vessels left the scene after about an hour, and the Venture transited through the strait without further incident.

Separately, Iranian navy commander Shahram Irani said on June 3 that Iran plans to form a maritime coalition with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Qatar, India, and Pakistan to patrol the region.

Expert Analysis

“When it comes to threats to freedom of navigation and maritime shipping, Tehran is an arsonist posing as a firefighter. The right response is for the United States and its regional partners to expedite and expand ongoing combined efforts to field maritime surveillance and interdiction capabilities that can help deter and defeat Iranian threats.” Bradley Bowman, Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power

“The IRGC Navy is the leading cause of disruption, destruction, and discord in the Arabian Gulf.  Any regional effort to protect maritime security that involves Iran as a partner defies logic and is destined for failure.” RADM (Ret.) Mark Montgomery, Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation and FDD Senior Fellow

Proposed Iranian Coalition Defies Reason

The U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet leads an international coalition, called the Combined Maritime Forces, that patrols the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, and the Strait of Hormuz, a critical chokepoint through which a fifth of the world’s oil moves. Fifth Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces spokesman Cmdr. Tim Hawkins told Breaking Defense that it “defies reason that Iran, the number one cause of regional instability, claims it wants to form a naval security alliance to protect the waters it threatens.” In February, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain joined the United States in condemning Iran’s destabilizing policies in the region.

Iran Continues to Threaten International Shipping

Over the past two years, Iran has attacked or interfered with the navigational rights of 15 internationally flagged merchant vessels and seized at least six of them. On May 3, Iranian forces seized the empty, Panama-flagged tanker Niovi in the Strait of Hormuz, surrounding it with a dozen speedboats and diverting it to Iranian territorial waters. Six days earlier, Iranian commandos descended onto the deck of the Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker Advantage Sweet from a helicopter and took control of the vessel.

Securing Contested Waters: A Conversation with NAVCENT Commander Vice Adm. Cooper,” FDD Event

U.S. Navy Increases Patrols in Strait of Hormuz,” FDD Flash Brief

Add Israel to the Combined Maritime Forces and its Red Sea Task Force,” by Bradley Bowman and Ryan Brobst


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Israel Military and Political Power U.S. Defense Policy and Strategy