According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration, Iran is upping the ante in its confrontation with the West, tricking oil tankers into thinking Iranian vessels are U.S. and British warships and prompting them to enter Iranian waters, where they can be seized.

The Maritime Administration’s website stated:

Vessels operating in the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and Gulf of Oman may also encounter GPS interference, bridge-to-bridge communications spoofing, and/or other communications jamming with little to no warning.

Since May 2019, the following maritime incidents have occurred in this region:

Six attacks against commercial vessels; Shoot-down of U.S. Navy remotely piloted aircraft over international waters; Attempted at-sea interdiction of Isle of Man-flagged M/V BRITISH HERITAGE; Seizure of ex-Panama-flagged M/V RIAH; Seizure of U.K.-flagged M/V STENA IMPERO; and Detention and subsequent release of Liberian-flagged M/V MESDAR.

In at least two of these incidents, vessels reported GPS interference. One vessel reportedly shut off its Automatic Identification System (AIS) before it was seized, complicating response efforts. Vessels have also reported spoofed bridge-to-bridge communications from unknown entities falsely claiming to be U.S. or coalition warships.

All vessels should be aware that U.S. and other coalition naval forces may conduct maritime awareness calls, queries, and approaches to ensure the safety of vessels transiting the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, Gulf of Oman, and Arabian Sea. If a U.S. flag commercial vessel suspects it is being hailed from a source falsely claiming to be a U.S. or coalition naval vessel, the U.S. Fifth Fleet Battle Watch should be immediately informed … If Iranian forces seek to board a U.S. flag commercial vessel navigating these waters, the ship’s Master should, if the safety of the ship and crew would not be compromised, decline permission to board, noting that the vessel is proceeding in accordance with international law, and immediately inform the U.S. Fifth Fleet Battle Watch. If Iranian forces board a U.S. flagged commercial vessel, the vessel should immediately contact the U.S. Fifth Fleet Battle Watch. The crew should not forcibly resist the boarding party. Refraining from forcible resistance does not imply consent or agreement to that boarding.

CNN reported, “A U.S. defense official told CNN that Iran has placed GPS jammers on Iran-controlled Abu Musa Island, which lies in the Persian Gulf close to the entrance of the Strait of Hormuz. The official said that Iran had placed the jammers at that location in an attempt to disrupt civilian aircraft and ship navigation systems, hoping ships or planes will mistakenly wander into Iranian waters or airspace while their GPS systems were not functioning properly, giving Iranian forces the pretext needed to seize them.”

The Daily Mail reported, “U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. military operations in the region, issued a statement last night saying: ‘Vessels have reported GPS interference, bridge-to-bridge communications spoofing, and/or other communications jamming with little to no warning. Vessels have also reported spoofed bridge-to-bridge communications from unknown entities falsely claiming to be U.S. or coalition warships.’” The Daily Mail added, “Two Royal Navy warships are currently in the region, the frigate HMS Montrose and the destroyer HMS Duncan.”

You Might Like
Learn more about RevenueStripe...