US dispatches destroyer after Iran seizes ship

Google map showing the Strait of Hormuz where Iranian forces boarded a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship on Tuesday.

Google map showing the Strait of Hormuz where Iranian forces boarded a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship on Tuesday.


Iran said a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship was ordered to dock in its Gulf port of Bandar Abbas on Tuesday because of a commercial dispute.

US defense officials said at least five Iranian ships demanded that the Maersk Tigris head toward Iran’s Larak Island while it was in the Straight of Hormuz.

The Fars news agency, citing “an informed source,” reported that the ship “had a dispute with the Iranian port administration, which obtained a court order to impound” it. Iran said sailors from Britain, Bulgaria, Myanmar and Romania make up the 24-strong crew, under the command of a Bulgarian.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Steven Warren said the captain “declined” the demand to alter course and one Iranian naval vessel “fired shots” across the bow of the Maersk Tigris.

It then “complied with the Iranian demand and proceeded into Iranian waters in the vicinity of Larak Island,” he said.

The US military’s Central Command ordered a naval destroyer to the area and military aircraft were monitoring the situation, Warren said. The destroyer was directed “to proceed at best speed to the nearest location of the Maersk Tigris,” he said.

The incident occurred at about 0900 GMT in the Strait of Hormuz in Iranian territorial waters.


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