Maersk Tigris was detained by Iranian patrol boats in the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday and then forced into Iranian territorial waters by opening a fire across its bow. In response a destroyer and a reconnaissance plane were sent by the U.S. Navy for monitoring the situation.
The Marshall Islands-registered MV Maersk Tigris was sailing through one of the world's most important oil shipping channels. During its passing of the Strait of Hormuz, warning shots were fired from the Iranian patrol ships, which forced the cargo vessel to divert toward Larak Island close to Banbar Abbas.
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According to reports of U.S. Officials, the Iranian forces boarded the ship, after the warning shots.
The Iranian actions came after heightened tensions over the conflict in Yemen. There, Saudi-led coalition has been bombing Iranian backed Houthi rebels, supported by Washington, who have seized many parts of the country and sidelined the U.S.-supported president.
Maersk Line representative has informed, the MV Maersk Tigris is on charter with Rickmers Shipmanagement, Shanghai at the moment and this is the company responsible for the cargo ship.
At the beginning when the Maersk Tigris was intercepted, the order was ignored, but later after the fired warning shots, the vessel obeyed.
According to Army Colonel Steve Warren, U.S Navy received a distress signal from MV Maersk Tigris and dispatched the destroyer USS Farragut together with a surveillance plane to monitor the situation.
“Firing shots across the bow of a cargo vessel was inappropriate and seemed provocative”, he said.
The Pentagon spokesman said on board of the vessels there were not any American citizens, rejecting the information given by the Arabian Al-Arabiya news network, according which the ship was carrying 34 American seamen on board.
Many news agencies said they faced difficulties in getting information for the incident from the authorities in Iran, which came only 4 days after another one, when Iranian patrol boats surrounded a U.S.-registered vessel, the Maersk Kensington.
Then, the Iranian authorities stated that the vessel seizure had been a civil matter with no military or political aspect.