Copenhagen: Iranian military fired warning shots at the Maersk Tigris in the Persian Gulf yesterday, before seizing the vessel in Iranian waters.
Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said it was “inappropriate” for the Iranians to fire the warning shots. Since the vessel is Marshall-Islands registered, the U.S. Navy has swung into action and dispatched a maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft to observe and monitor the situation, Warren told reporters.
The Maersk Tigris is managed by Singapore-based Rickmers Shipmanagement. The vessel was scheduled to go to Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates. Its previous port was listed as Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
Maersk Tigris was approached in the Persian Gulf by Iranian Navy and forced for inspection at a rendezvous position in Iranian waters, Rickmers Shipmanagement said in a release.
“Rickmers Shipmanagement is seriously concerned about their crew and the incident which happened to their managed ship,” the manager said.
Iran claims the ship has been detained as the company managing it owes an Iranian firm money.
“A legal complaint by a domestic private company resulted in the seizure of the Marshal Islands-flagged vessel in Iranian waters by the Coast Guard,” head of the Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran Mohammad Sa’eednejad told local media today.
Twenty-four crew members are on board.
The seizure follows an incident where Iranian naval vessels surrounded US-flagged Maersk Kensington on Friday in the Strait of Hormuz.