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In the entertainment-starved Persian Gulf, telling a U.S. Navy vessel that you're coming after it and the ship will explode in a few minutes is apparently what passes for humor.
It turns out that the voice that passed that spurious warning to three Navy ships as they were being approached by Iranian speedboats is a notorious maritime heckler who has come to be known as the Filipino Monkey after his racist insults to Filipinos.
The Monkey could be one person but more likely a band of nuisances who orally harass ships and aircraft in the Gulf going back to the tanker wars of the early '80s.
The radio transmissions, said The Washington Post, are "alternately obscene, nonsensical, racist, infantile, misogynistic and menacing." Sometimes the voice just babbles all night in a falsetto. The Monkey is said to be especially vile toward female American helicopter pilots. Clearly these are seriously bored individuals.
The Monkey broadcasts on an open channel used for ship-to-ship communications and his origin, it appears, is impossible to trace. It could be anywhere in a 60-mile radius on board a ship, on land or even an aircraft.
The heckler began broadcasting about seven minutes after the Iranian speedboats first appeared. It could have been coincidence or he could have overheard the U.S. Navy ships and the Iranians trying to identify each other.
It was a terribly inopportune time because the Navy ships were about to fire when the Iranians veered off. A tense situation that resolved itself could instead have turned bloody. Even in the suffocating heat and boredom of traversing the Gulf, that wouldn't have been at all funny.