Details are still coming in, but it seems clear that the Iranian Navy seized a container ship called the Maersk Tigris that was transiting the Strait of Hormuz this morning. The ship, flagged in the Marshall Islands and owned by a Danish conglomerate, was traveling on an internationally recognized shipping route when it was approached by Iranian vessels that ordered it to “proceed further” into Iranian waters. The captain refused, and the Iranian vessels fired warning shots. The captain then “complied with the Iranian demand and proceeded into Iranian waters in the vicinity of Larak Island,” according to a Pentagon spokesman. The Iranians have boarded the ship.
As the news of this act of piracy started to circulate, and after some confusion about whether or not the ship was U.S. flagged (it’s not), there was some discussion on social media about whether or not the United States is obligated to defend the interests of the Marshall Islands (it is) and whether or not there were any American citizens aboard (there don’t appear to be). Some of this was understandable fact finding, but some of it also seemed motivated by a desire to downplay the significance of the incident, and to diminish the expectation that the United States needs to respond, even as the Navyhas already ordered a destroyer to monitor the situation.
Read more: http://freebeacon.com/blog/irans-hijacking-of-the-maersk-tigris-is-a-message-to-the-usa/