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Iran intercepts U.S. cargo ship in Persian Gulf

The Pentagon reported the ship was steered toward a nearby Iranian port.

By Ed Adamczyk
Iran intercepts U.S. cargo ship in Persian Gulf
The cargo ship Maersk Tigris was diverted to Iran Tuesday, April 28, 2015. Photo Courtesy of Maersk Line.

WASHINGTON, April 28 (UPI) -- A U.S. cargo ship was fired on by Iranian patrol boats in the Strait of Hormuz, the Pentagon confirmed Tuesday.

The MV Maersk Tigris, a commercial ship sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands, was travelling through the Strait to the United Arab Emirates when it was intercepted by five Iranian ships. The cargo ship sent a distress call after shots were fired, the distress signal picked up by the USS Farragut, which was sailing in the area.

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"The master (of the Maersk Tigris) was contacted and directed to proceed further into Iranian territorial waters. He declined and one of the IRGCN (Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy) craft fired shots across the bridge of the Maersk Tigris. The master complied with the Iranian demand and proceeded into Iranian waters IVO (in vicinity of) Larak Island," Pentagon spokesman Col. Rick Warren said.

There were no U.S. citizens aboard the cargo ship, which is 244 meters (800 feet) long and built in 2014.

The Saudi news channel al-Arabiya initially reported the ship was fired on, then steered to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, near Larak Island. Iran's FARS news agency claimed an "American trade vessel" was seized.

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