U.S Navy ships have begun escorting British-registered merchant vessels through the Strait of Hormuz. The vessels accompaniment out of the Persian Gulf came as a result of the last week detention of a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship.
According to the Pentagon spokesman, Army Colonel Steve Warren, after several talks between Washington and London, U.S Warships had accompanied one British vessel through the sea passage, which is one of the world’s most strategically important choke points.
“They’ve asked if we would accompany their flagged vessels through the strait,” said Colonel Warren.
The response of the Pentagon for including U.S Navy escorts in the strait came after the last week detention of the MV Maersk Tigris by patrol boats of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. According to Pentagon officials, this is a temporary operation, which came after the Iranian actions in the Hormuz sea passage lately.
Last Tuesday, Iranian patrol vessels approached the Maersk Tigris and ordered the vessel into Iranian territorial waters. During its passing of the strait , warning shots were fired from the patrol ships, which forced the cargo vessel to divert toward Larak Island close to Banbar Abbas.
According to Iranian officials, the detention of the Maersk cargo vessel was linked to a long-running legal dispute with Iran, started in 2005, regarding an uncollected cargo from Dubai.
The Iranian reaction 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 have sidelined the U.S.-supported president.
As reported by U.S. officials, the U.S. Navy began accompanying U.S.-flagged and British-flagged vessels in the Strait of Hormuz because patrol boats of Iran had shadowed a U.S. merchant ship, which was passing through the strategical sea passage several days before the Maersk Tigris detention.