Iran fired at and seized a Marshall-Island-flagged cargo ship and sent a distress call to which The US Navy responded.
When the US ship arrived, the Iranian Navy surrounded the ship.
The US Navy confirmed this event, according to reports.
Tensions have been high due to recent global nuclear talks with the country – and these latest incidents are sure to only add to the growing tension in the Middle East.
According to The Daily Mail:
- Pentagon identified the seized ship as MV Maersk Tigris with 34 sailors aboard
- US spokesman said Iranian patrol vessels fired warning shots across the bridge but no one was injured
- Vessel was reportedly taken from Strait of Hormuz to Iranian port of Bandar Abbas
- It was reported earlier the ship was US-flagged, but it later emerged Maersk Tigris is registered in Marshall Islands
- US destroyer and aircraft were dispatch to site of incident to monitor the situation
Iranian patrol vessels fired warning shots across the bridge of a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo vessel Tuesday morning and seized it for trespassing in territorial waters.
Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television station reported earlier the vessel was US-flagged, but it has since emerged that the cargo ship is registered in the Pacific island nation and had no Americans aboard.
The semi-official Iranian news agency Fars also reported that Iran has taken control of the MV Maersk Tigris for ‘trespassing’ on its territorial waters.
Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said Iranian patrol vessels have fired warning shots across the bridge of the Maersk Tigris as it was traversing the Strait of Hormuz in Iranian territorial waters.
Warren said the cargo ship’s master had initially refused an Iranian order to move further into Iranian waters, but after the warning shots were fired the cargo ship complied.
The vessel was then boarded by Iranians, but no one has been injured and no Americans are involved. Warren said the cargo ship issued a distress call and US Naval Forces Central Command, based in the area, sent a US destroyer, the USS Farragut, and an aircraft to the area of the incident to monitor the situation.
‘At first appearance it does seem to be provocative behavior, but again we don’t have all the facts yet,’ Warren told a Pentagon news briefing According to the ship-tracking site MarineTraffic.com, the 52,600-ton cargo vessel, which was built last year, departed from Ambarli, Turkey April 8 en route to Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates.
A map of the vessel’s route shows that it abruptly changed course in the Strait of Hormuz this morning and was heading to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.
The Maersk Tigris is managed by Singapore-based Rickmers Ship Management, which is part of Hamburg-based Rickmers Group.
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