According to Reuters, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said an Iranian “force” seized a U.S. cargo ship after opening fire on it in the Gulf on Tuesday and directed it to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.
Reuters also stated, a Pentagon spokesman said Iranian forces had boarded a Marshall Island-flagged vessel, the MV Maersk Tigris, in the Gulf. He said the boarding occurred after Iranian patrol boats fired shots across the vessel’s bow and ordered it deeper into Iranian waters.
The ship had no U.S. citizens aboard, the spokesman said, contradicting Al-Arabiya’s report which said there were 34 U.S. sailors on board. He said it was traveling through the Strait of Hormuz when the incident occurred.
The company managing the vessel told a Danish news channel there were 24 crew members, mostly from eastern Europe and Asia.Iran has been known to threaten the blockage of the strait in opposition to the sanctions against its nuclear program.
The strait is 21 miles long and has 2-mile wide navigable channels for inbound and outbound traffic and a 2-mile wide buffer. Connecting Saudi Arabia and other Gulf oil producers with the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea, the strait separates Oman and Iran.