CNN reports that five Iranian boats fired at Alpine Eternity, a Singapore cargo ship, in the Persian Gulf. It is the second time Iran has accosted a foreign ship in the gulf in the past month.
The Pentagon revealed that neither Americans nor American cargo were on the ship.
An official told CNN five boats from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy “approached the cargo vessel just off the coast of the United Arab Emirates but in international water.” The Iranians told the captain to enter Iranian waters, but he refused the orders. The US official claimed “the Iranians began to fire in a way to try to disable the ship, not just as warning shots.”
The boats only carry “smaller caliber weapons such as machine guns.” After the Iranian boats fired, the boat escaped into UAE waters. Despite this, the Iranians continued to follow and shoot at the boat. Shots hit the boat, but it survived.
The captain called on surrounding boats for help, “including U.S. Navy warships. A P-3 from a country was sent overhead and the Navy began moving, but the incident was over before it could get there.”
In April, the Iranian Navy claimed they captured an American cargo ship at sea. American officials denied the seizure because the boat, Maersk Tigris, actually belonged to the Marshall Islands without any Americans on board. The boat did send a distress call, which was answered by the US Navy and aircraft.
In that incident, Iran claimed the boat was in international waters, but the route showed the exact opposite. The Navy attempted to divert the Maersk Tigris just like the Alpine Eternity.
The Iranian government released the Maersk Tigris cargo ship on May 7.