- The Washington Times - Friday, May 1, 2015

Military assets will accompany U.S. flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz “indefinitely” in response to Iran seizing a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo vessel earlier this week, the Pentagon said Friday.

Since the mission began Thursday, four U.S. flagged ships have been accompanied through the strait, said Col. Steve Warren, Pentagon spokesman.

The Marshall Islands-flagged Maersk Tigris was seized Tuesday by Iran over a business dispute with the Iranian Ports and Maritime Organization. As of Friday afternoon, the cargo ship and its crew are still being held by Iran, docked off the coast of Larak Island.

Any U.S. flagged merchant vessel can request a U.S. military ship to accompany it through the strait, but it won’t be forced upon the commercial ships, said Col. Pat Ryder, U.S. Central Command spokesman.

The U.S. is also in discussions with other nations to include support for their vessels as well, Col. Ryder said.

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