Iran seizes Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship

The US Navy responded to distress calls from a cargo ship in the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday, after an Iranian patrol vessel reportedly seized the ship.

Crew members on the vessel fired shots at the Marshall Islands-flagged ship and then directed it deeper into Iranian territory, Reuters reported.

TV2 News, a Danish news channel, reported Iranian forces boarded the ship after firing warning shots.

The cargo ship — later identified as a MV Maersk Tigris — sent out a distress signal.

Conflicting reports indicated there were between 24 and 34 workers on board the cargo ship. Al-Arabiya, the Saudi news organization that broke the story, initially reported the seized vessel was a US cargo ship. Pentagon spokesman Steve Warren corrected that statement, but confirmed the US Navy had deployed a destroyer to monitor the situation.

The ship was reportedly traveling through the Strait of Hormuz when the Iranian vessel seized it. A vessel-tracking website indicated the cargo ship was headed for a United Arab Emirates port.

The Strait of Hormuz — which connects the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman — is a crucial channel for oil shipment. Tuesday’s events caused a brief spike in crude oil prices. The dollar index also fell 0.63 percent, from 96.15 to 96.36, according to Market Pulse.

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RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1.Iranian vessel approaching cargo ship in the water
2.Grouped avatars indicate 34 people on board the cargo ship
3.Iranians arming themselves as their vessel approaches the ship
4.Map showing Iranian territorial area of Persian Gulf and port location
5.Saudi Arabia broadcasting the story
6.Cargo ship sending out distress call, U.S. destroyer responding

VOICEOVER (in English):

"An Iranian patrol vessel approached a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship off the southern coast of Iran Tuesday."

"Conflicting initial reports indicated there were between 24 and 34 workers on board the cargo ship."

"Crew members on the vessel fired shots at the ship and directed it deeper into Iranian territory."

"The ship was reportedly traveling through the Strait of Hormuz (whore mooz) when it was seized and taken to a Bandar Abbas port."

"Saudi news organization Al-Arabiya broke the story, initially reporting the ship belonged to the U.S. and then retracting that statement."

"But Pentagon spokesman Steve Warren confirmed the U.S. was responding to stress signals from the cargo ship."

SOURCES:
Reuters, The Independent, Defense News, CNBC, BBC

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/28/us-iran-usa-ship-idUSKBN0NJ1SB20150428
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/irans-military-seizes-us-cargo-ship-10210291.html
http://www.defensenews.com/story/breaking-news/2015/04/28/iran-intercepts-cargo-ship-us-moving-to-respond/26508145/