The Cable

Iran Boards Merchant Ship; U.S. Navy En Route

Iranian forces have boarded a commercial ship in Strait of Hormuz, U.S. Navy heading to scene

Sailors approach USS Farragut at sea.
U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY (Jan. 16, 2013) Sailors from the guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) maneuver in rigid-hull inflatable boats near the guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99) during a visit, board, search and seizure exercise. Jason Dunham and Farragut are deployed with the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Deven B. King/Released) 130116-N-XQ375-074 Join the conversation

The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Farragut is racing toward the scene of a confrontation between several Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps vessels and a commercial cargo ship in the Strait of Hormuz.

Defense Department spokesman Col. Steve Warren said the Iranian vessels fired “several shots” across the bridge of the Marshall Island-flagged Maersk Tigris cargo ship around 4 a.m. EST Tuesday. Warren said the fleet directed the cargo ship further into Iranian territorial waters before boarding it.

There are no Americans among the cargo ship’s 34-member crew, which appears to have been forced by the Iranians out of a commonly used commercial shipping lane within Tehran’s territorial waters, Warren said.

Although the Farragut and U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft are headed to the area, Warren said U.S. sea and air assets will not enter Iranian territory. He said it’s not clear what kind of response — if any — U.S. allies in the Mideast have taken or are preparing.

The Strait of Hormuz links the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. It is one of the world’s most strategic shipping passages, and is a main artery of Mideast oil exports. Commercial ships regularly pass through Iranian waters while making their transit through the strait.

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy

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