Iranian navy intercepted US-flagged ship, official says

Four Iranian patrol boats from its Revolutionary Guard intercepted the U.S.-flagged container ship M/V Maersk Kensington last Friday in the Persian Gulf near the Strait of Hormuz in an internationally recognized maritime route, a Pentagon official told Fox News Tuesday.


The news came as Iranian Navy vessels fired shots at and boarded a Marshall Islands-flagged commercial container ship in the Strait of Hormuz Tuesday, a senior defense official told Fox News.


The Iranian patrol boats encircled Maersk Kensington, but eventually withdrew without firing any warning shots or boarding the vessel, according to the official. Maersk Kensington did not request assistance, and U.S. Navy ships were not present or involved, according to the official.


Maersk Kensington’s master reported the incident to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command a short time after the incident.


Shortly after the incident, the U.S. Navy Central Command issued a “notice to Mariners” warning vessels operating in the Gulf to be on the lookout for those Iranian patrol boats, according to a Navy official.


The official would not speculate if the intercept was a test run for Tuesday’s operation involving Iranian patrol boats firing warning shots and boarding the Marshall Islands-flagged ship.


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