Iranian forces boarded a Marshall Islands–flagged cargo ship in the Gulf on Tuesday after patrol boats fired warning shots across its bow as it traveled through the Strait of Hormuz, the Pentagon said.
The ship, the MV Maersk Tigris, initially ignored Iranian patrol boats that ordered it deeper into Iranian territorial waters but complied after the vessels fired several warning shots, U.S. Army Col. Steve Warren said.
U.S. forces in the region responded to distress calls from the Maersk Tigris, sending the destroyer USS Farragut and a reconnaissance aircraft to monitor the situation.
The ship had no U.S. citizens aboard, Warren said, contradicting a report from Saudi Arabia–based Al-Arabiya news network that said there were 34 U.S. sailors on the ship.
There was no immediate word from Iranian officials.
Iran previously threatened to block the strait to advance its opposition to sanctions imposed over its nuclear program.
The channel is a narrow strip of water separating Oman and Iran. It connects the biggest Gulf oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, with the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.
At its narrowest point, the strait is 21 miles across, with 2-mile-wide navigable channels for inbound and outbound shipping and a 2-mile-wide buffer zone.
Al Jazeera and Reuters