U.S. warships and aircraft stepped up patrols Wednesday in the Strait of Hormuz after Iranian vessels seized a foreign cargo ship there in an unusual move that could raise tension between the U.S. and Iran as the two countries prepare for final talks on a nuclear deal opposed by powerful voices in the U.S. Congress.
The MV Maersk Tigris and its crew remained in Iranian custody on Wednesday, a day after the Marshall Islands-flagged vessel was boarded by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. The U.S. Navy dispatched the destroyer USS Farragut to the area, joining three coastal patrol ships and a P-3 Orion surveillance aircraft.
“We sent ships into the area to help monitor the situation and help maintain a U.S. naval presence in the vicinity of Strait of Hormuz,” Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, a spokesman for the U.S. 5th Fleet, said Wednesday. Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said the ships would give the Navy options but declined to spell out what those might be. […]