Six U.S.-flagged vessels are now in the Persian Gulf near the Strait of Hormuz, one container ship, three offshore supply ships and two vehicle carriers. Four American-flagged vessels have transited the Strait of Hormuz , all four ships were Military Sealift Command or U.S. government contract vessels. They are under close monitoring , a U.S. Navy ship in the area that can respond in the event it’s required.
Following the April 29 seizure of the M/V Maersk Tigris, U.S. Navy warships will now accompany American flagged merchant ships through the Strait of Hormuz to prevent harassment. U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) “would assign forces as they deem necessary” to “prevent harassment and possible interdiction by possible IRGCN costal patrols” . The ships at NAVCENT’s disposal for the accompanying mission in the strait and the Persian Gulf include five Cyclone-class patrol craft, four Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers (DDG51), mine counter measures (MCM-6)) ship USS Devastator and guided missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG-60).
[April 30 Marshall-Islands flag boxship seized in Strait of Hormuz,U.S.-flagged Maersk Kensington surrounded there on 24th] Rickmers Shipmanagement, the Singapore-based company that has chartered the Maersk Tigris, said it was concerned for the 24 crew members on board, most of whom come from Eastern Europe and Asia.He said the vessel was running along a normal commercial route between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and that the company did not yet know why Iran had stopped it.
The M/V Maersk Tigris was seized at the request of Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization, Iran's semi-official news agency FARS is reporting, citing informed sources. The Marshall Islands-flagged vessel was seized after a relevant court order was issued, according to the source, indicating that the IPMO had monetary differences with the ship owner.
Even though the Strait of Hormuz is in Iranian territorial waters, "innocent passage" is applied -- ships are authorized to pass through the body of water assuming they abide by all the rules of the sea -- because it is an internationally recognized shipping lane.
A U.S.-flagged ship was recently intercepted by an Iran Revolutionary Guard naval patrol, . The incident occurred on April 24th when four Iranian naval vessels surrounded the U.S.-flagged Maersk Kensington in the Strait of Hormuz. "the Iranians encircled the Kensington and followed the ship on its course for a period of time before withdrawing and breaking away." After that, the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet issued a notice to mariners about the incident. Referring to March 28's incident, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said it was "inappropriate" for the Iranians to fire the warning shots.
|USS Farragut, seen here, was dispatched to the Persian Gulf April 28 after Iranian forces seized a cargo ship, prompting its shipmaster to send a distress signal picked up the U.S. Navy.|
#Iran has released Marshall Islands-flagged Maersk Tigris cargo ship according to al-Jazeera
— Zaid Benjamin (@zaidbenjamin) April 28, 2015
|53 min ago (2015-04-28 14:51)|
“At approximately 0905 Zulu, April 28, M/V Maersk Tigris, a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo vessel, was approached by several Iranian IRGCN patrol vessels while crossing the Strait of Hormuz 'Iranian territorial waters' transiting inbound in the Strait of Hormuz. The master was contacted and directed to proceed further into Iranian territorial waters. He declined and one of the IRGCN craft fired shots across the bridge of the Maersk Tigris. The master complied with the Iranian demand and proceeded into Iranian waters in the vicinity of Larak Island. NAVCENT directed a DDG (USS Farragut) to proceed at best speed to the nearest location of Maersk Tigris, and directed aircraft to observe the interaction between the Maersk vessel and the IRGCN craft. NAVCENT is communicating with representatives of the shipping company and we continue to monitor the situation. According to information received from the vessel’s operators, there are no Americans aboard.”
Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, 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 MV Maersk Tigris complied.Warren said the cargo ship has been boarded by Iranians, but no one has been injured and no Americans are involved.Warren said the cargo ship issued a distress call and the US Naval Forces Central Command, based in the area, sent a US destroyer and an aircraft to the area of the incident to monitor the situation. Pentagon says ship that Iran seized was from Marshall Islands A cargo ship that Iran has seized was from the Marshall Islands and not the U.S., news services reported, citing a Pentagon spokesman. Earlier Middle East news reports said the ship was from the U.S. The Pentagon spokesman did confirm that Iranian patrol boats fired shots across the vessel's bow and ordered it deeper into Iranian waters.
Built 23 Dec 2014
Call Sign V7GQ7
Class DNV + 1A1
Flag Marshall Islands