15:21 GMT +323 March 2017
    American Navy boats in custody of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the Persian Gulf.

    Details Reveal Humiliating US Navy Blunder in Iranian Waters

    © AP Photo/ IRIB
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    When ten US sailors drifted into Iranian waters in January, sparking an international incident, questions were immediately raised about how this could happen, given the accuracy of modern navigation. An internal Navy investigation offers some insights.

    In January, with the Iran nuclear deal hanging in the balance, two small US Navy patrol vessels drifted into Iran’s waters off the coast of Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf. The crew was apprehended by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, and the entire situation put both Washington and Tehran in a delicate diplomatic spot.

    At the time, the Pentagon blamed the incident on a mechanical malfunction, though this was met with doubt after the boats were proven operational following the release of the sailors.

    As part of an ongoing internal investigation, the US Navy has found that an embarrassing combination of mechanical issues, communication failures, and a lack of proper navigational training contributed to the mishap.

    Speaking to Foreign Policy magazine on condition of anonymity, officials familiar with the investigation describe how the captured sailors were in a rush, operating under a 24-hour deadline to reach Bahrain by sea from Kuwait.

    One of the two boats used for the journey was ill-prepared, and had to be retrofitted with parts gutted from a third vessel. Investigators claim crewmembers were attempting to fix the struggling boat’s engine when they were captured.

    The distance of the trip also played a role. At 240 nautical miles, the journey was longer than crewmembers had been trained for. The distance also required a midway refueling, a point the crew was eager to reach before dark.

    The crew had not been trained to refuel the vessels at night.

    Adding to the complications, the sailors had no direct line of communication with the refueling tanker, and struggled to coordinate a rendezvous.

    The boats were outfitted with GPS navigation equipment, but the investigation found that the map software did not allow for a level of resolution to reveal the relatively small Farsi Island.

    The vessels is equipped with a relay device that automatically alerts an operation center to the sailors’ whereabouts every 30 minutes. For reasons the investigation has not yet identified, officers in the operation center did not inform the crew that they were entering Iranian waters.

    "We’re not looking for a scapegoat here. The intent of the investigation is to not only look at the sailors involved but the chain of command as well," one official said. "Accountability is important, but even more important is what we can learn from this and [to] make sure it doesn’t happen again."

    While the release of the crew was successfully negotiated by US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, the situation could have been much worse.

    As the officials note, both boats were armed with 50-caliber machine guns and GAU-19 miniguns. Given that the crew managed to fix the faulty engine before they were apprehended, 27-year-old Lt. David Nartker, the lead officer, could have ordered the US boats to flee.

    Of course, doing so would have meant firing on the Iranian patrol, and a minor military embarrassment could have quickly escalated into an international incident.


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    Iran nuclear deal, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN), US Navy, Mohammad Javad Zarif, John Kerry, David Nartker, Farsi Island, Iran, United States
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    • avatar
      Not the first. Iran git U.K boat too and crew.
      The best drone U.S had.. the beast of Kandahar. And a museum of drones. From everywhere.
      They claimed they went up and shoot them.
      But many pointed at a Russian Equipment. Obsolete, but still works. oh well. that truck is very scary. Indeed.
    • Ivan Buckeyein reply toIngimundar(Show commentHide comment)
      Ingimundar, I agree and your comment is the best here.
    • avatar
      Persians are indeed trustable; they have a math mind. It is something in their blood which makes them being mentally precise. Present day example is Fars News.
    • avatar
      elsa.zardiniin reply toIngimundar(Show commentHide comment)
      IngimundarIngimundar, Right. Pearl Harbor again and again and again.
    • FlorianGeyerin reply toterryjohnodgers(Show commentHide comment)

      Whatever their chart or map was, I would have expected better from the ' Exceptional and Indispensable ' USA. Or is it that the USA, despite all its bluster, is just the same as most Western nations, all procedure and no real substance ? Tick the box, fiddle the data and buggerall really works efficiently. Rather like telephoning a telecoms or utility call centre to sort out a problem. all that happens is to be passed around from one clueless shmuck to another in a black hole of incompetence.
    • FlorianGeyerin reply tojas(Show commentHide comment)
      They had not received flashlight training Jas. Please be reasonable!
    • avatar
      This is misinformation concocted for the gullible - US just got caught doing something nefarious so a BS excuse had to be invented to save face as the truth is much more damaging!
    • avatar
      terryjohnodgersin reply toFlorianGeyer(Show commentHide comment)
      FlorianGeyer, the Americans do not like losing and a graphic illustration of that is an incident that occurred at a RIMPAC exercise which are held every four years - I believe. Back in 2006, a Collins class submarine, HMAS Rankin (Australian Navy) which was taking part in RIMPAC, managed to avoid the Pearl Harbor defences and 'sink' an American destroyer just past the entrance to the harbor.

      After that 'embarrassment' the Rankin was heavily shadowed by American navy helicopters with sonar so as to not lose 'sight' of the boat. The Americans did not want another embarassing 'loss'.

      All militaries can be defeated in one way or another, especially if they are poorly trained and lack 'modern' weapons, but the Americans do not lack in modern weaponry or are poorly trained, so something else occurred on that day in that location that caused a number of American sailors to be taken completely by surprise and captured.

      That is a defeat of a very worrying kind and the explanations given do not fit the story that unfolded then and is still being explained away today.
    • FlorianGeyerin reply toterryjohnodgers(Show commentHide comment)

      Could it be as simple as 'incompetence' by marines who have been indoctrinated by their officers with their 'excellence' and the Iranians who are seen by them as inferior 'sand monkeys' ?

    • avatar
      The one Who knows
      We are already seeing economic collapse starting to unravel. With Commodities being cheapest since 1974 and developing economies heavily indebted - (normally they are the ones that always save the day during crises as they are using cheap resources to manufacture and save world demand) - China will not be there to save the day...
      (source: independenttrader.org/commodities-cheapest-since-1974.html)
      They need to start a war and look how hard they try - Ukraine, Iran, Syria, Libya... During ward you dont pay debts brothers. Think!
    • avatar
      terryjohnodgersin reply toFlorianGeyer(Show commentHide comment)
      FlorianGeyer, I don't believe that is the problem here, and even though western militaries have become feminized over the past two decades, the training is still highly rigorous and character building. Something else is at play here. That sailor crying for instance - maybe he felt betrayed?
    • FlorianGeyerin reply toterryjohnodgers(Show commentHide comment)

      I had not considered that. I agree that the realisation that your military was willing to sacrifice the crews of the two boats for an ulterior motive could indeed cause tears of anger and disbelief at being betrayed by ones oficers.

      There is likely more to the incident than we will ever know.
    • avatar
      terryjohnodgersin reply toFlorianGeyer(Show commentHide comment)
      FlorianGeyer, also, when considering any western military, particularly the United States military, much is censored from the media, especially at the battle front where losses, gains or sheer incompetence should never be 'advertised' to the enemy.
    • FlorianGeyerin reply toterryjohnodgers(Show commentHide comment)
      If it was a 'secret ' mission surely there would have been a more senior officer in charge. Most of the crews looked like 'other ranks'. Officers in my experience have a demeanour that is difficult to conceal.
    • FlorianGeyerin reply toterryjohnodgers(Show commentHide comment)
      There was chatter a few weeks ago that the attacks by A10's at Alleppo against Al Nusra were targeted on a Turkish ISI/ al Nusra joint operations base.
      This was said to be in retaliation for the Turkish shoot down of 2 US helicopter's in the Kurdish border area between Turkey and Syria. All passengers and crews are said to have been lost.

      At the same time it was reported that 2 helicopter 's had been lost over the Pacific in an exercise where all the crews were lost. The oddity about this is that search and rescue was very cursory which is unusual. No bodies were produced as far as I know and a few images of the deceased were erected on an airfield on an island base in the area.

      Couple that with a denial that US planes had attacked the ISI in Alleppo that was disproved by data from Russian control systems in all of Syrian airspace and the request by the A10's to fly in that airspace and we have a 'conspiracy'. If all of this is true, could we have a situation where the US privately punish Turkish ISI operatives in retaliation for a Turkish killing of US personnel that the US , whilst publicly the US did not want the world to know about the incident?
    • avatar
      Military GPS maps didn't have island listed whereas Garmin's off the shelf "Blue" map contains it? What no Google Earth? Paper Map? Nobody remembered the mission map on the overhead? Next time call Uber.
    • avatar
      terryjohnodgersin reply toFlorianGeyer(Show commentHide comment)
      FlorianGeyer, those two separate 'incidents' have the hallmarks of operational incidents and by that I simply mean that they were planned. However, the outcomes for both may not have been to the liking of the planners. Are you aware of several explosive incidents in China recently? I think from memory three separate areas over a period of some weeks late last year that became infernos blamed by Chinese authorities on 'safety issues', but had all the indications of being targeted operations from outside sources and occurred about the same time as China was ridding itself of American debt?

      Also a similar event on Okinawa as the Japanese government was requesting the closure of the American air-base there?

      I think we can safely assume that not everything that meets the eye with the American military industrial complex is open for public inspection and will remain conjecture unless those who can see where all this is leading and are currently part of it come forward to broadcast what they know.

      Are you familiar with the 'Sirius Disclosure'?

      If you wish to go there you can access that on theobjectreport.com but be prepared for many hours of viewing.
    • avatar
      All BS. They were just transferring the new terrorist Boss to his "new office" but the iranian navy got the information as well.
      So all these nice words and distraction from the real thing: just continuing their support for their asset ISIS/ISIL or Dash whatever. US militairy caught with the dirty pants down. Period. Well done Iran.
    • FlorianGeyerin reply toterryjohnodgers(Show commentHide comment)

      Thanks, I will look.
    • itchyvet .
      It is FACT, the U.S. military, gives orders to it's members/officers who must follow said orders without question, period. If these sailors were given orders to do exactly as they did onthis occasion, not a one would ever publicly question such an order, they would simply follow said order to the letter, whether said order is rational or not, does not come into it.
      A heads up on this issue would be the negotiations that were currently underway regarding the nuclear issue. unfortunately, the U.S. has a bad record of enacting such events whenever negotiations of some kind appear to be going against their agenda.
      I can accept these sailors were totally ignorant of the what's and why of their actions, but cannot accept that their superiors were not fully informed of the details/objective of the exercise.
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