Watch: Captured US Sailor Does Something Surprising To Iran On Camera, Just One Major Problem…
A naval expert who served as an officer with the U.S. 5th Fleet in Bahrain, said the Navy has a black eye after video surfaced showing a captured sailor apologizing for entering Iranian territorial waters.
“The substance of [the] problem here is the U.S. Navy looks extraordinarily incompetent,” Chris Harmer, an analyst with the Institute for the Study of War, told the Washington Examiner. “In its ability to transit boats without violating Iranian waters, they look incompetent to know how to deal with a mechanical malfunction, and now…they’re apologizing.”
The sailor in the video can be heard saying, “It was a mistake that was our fault and we apologize for our mistake.”
Harmer believes “many will see this apology by a service member in uniform as an apology on behalf of the U.S. Navy.” The analyst, who served as deputy director of future operations at Navy headquarters in Bahrain, said the sailor is only authorized to given his name, rank, service number and date of birth.
“He is not authorized and he should not be apologizing for anything he does while on active duty,” Harmer said. “If he did something wrong, someone in his chain of command will issue an apology.”
“The American public deserves to know why the United States Navy can not operate professionally in the Persian Gulf,” the former naval officer added. “You’re not fighting anybody, you’re not towing anything, you’re not doing a mission, you’re just moving from point A to point B.”
What should have been done when one of the Riverine Patrol Boats foundered on the trip from Kuwait City to Bahrain? “Step one, pass a tow line” and get into friendly waters, Harmer told Military.com. “That’s epic incompetence right there.”
According to the international law, vessels are only allowed legal passage in territorial waters when conducting a search and rescue mission, or when international bodies of water are connected by a narrow strip of territorial waters. Neither of those situations was in play in this instance.
The Iranian Republican Guards ultimately freed the 10 captured sailors after holding them for approximately 24 hours.