Five Iranian boats were reported to have fired shots across the bow of a Singapore- flagged cargo vessel in the Persian Gulf on Thursday in an attempt to stop the ship, according to a U.S. official.
The Pentagon is still gathering information about the incident.
The incident involved five small fast boats, believed to be manned by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy. They approached the cargo vessel just off the coast of the United Arab Emirates but in international waters, the official said.
These Iranian boats are typically manned with smaller caliber weapons such as machine guns.
The Iranian boats fired across the bow, and at that point the cargo vessel turned and escaped by entering into UAE territorial waters. The UAE sent three of its coast guard boats out to the cargo vessel.
The incident began with the Iranians ordering the ship into Iranian waters. When the ships master refused, the Iranians began to fire in a way to try to disable the ship, not just as warning shots, the U.S. official said.
Several shots hit the cargo ship, but did not disable it. The ship went into UAE waters and the Iranians followed it into those territorial waters, continuing to fire, before breaking off.
The cargo ship's master called coalition warships to ask for help when the incident began. A P-3 from a country in the region was sent overhead and the Navy began moving, but the incident was over before it could get there.
Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser, said there were "no U.S. vessels or persons" involved in the incident. -end-
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