The Pentagon said Monday that U.S. Navy ships will escort British-flagged commercial ships through the Strait of Hormuz one week after Iran seized and continues to hold a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo vessel.
Col. Steve Warren, Pentagon spokesman, said that, in addition to one request from the British, Navy ships have accompanied “a handful” of U.S. shipping vessels through the strait.
“We have continued the accompaniment mission over the weekend, there have been a handful,” Col. Warren said. “But the mission continues and thus far it has continued without incident.”
Last Monday, Iran fired warning shots at the Maersk Tigris while the Marshall Islands-flagged ship was transiting the Strait of Hormuz and then seized the ship. The Iranians have said they diverted the ship to port near Larak Island because of a business dispute with Maersk, but Maersk has said that the ship and crew are both owned by Rickmers Shipmanagement.
“The seizure is unjustified and we insist that the crew and vessel be released as soon as possible,” Maersk said in a statement Monday. “Maersk Tigris and its crew are thus not in any way party to the cargo case, which allegedly according to the Iranian authorities is the reason behind the seizure of Maersk Tigris.”
On Sunday, a representative from Maersk met with the Iran Ports and Maritime Organization and the Danish ambassador to Iran met with the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Meetings continued on Monday, with the Danish ambassador meeting with the Iran Ports and Maritime Organization.
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