-- A Singapore-flagged tanker vessel was fired upon by Iranian patrol boats today as it transited through the Strait of Hormuz, U.S. officials said.
Around noon local time, the chemical and oil tanker Alpine Eternity was approached by several Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Navy patrol boats as it transited outbound through the Strait of Hormuz, according to U.S. officials.
"We are aware of a situation between a commercial vessel and Iranian patrol craft in international waters that occurred today. We have no other information to provide at this point," said Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman. He added that no U.S. Navy assets in the region were involved in the incident or have been relocated as a result of the incident.
The ship’s master aboard the Alpine Eternity ignored an Iranian order to enter Iranian waters, according to U.S. officials, which resulted in the Iranian patrol boats firing warning shots across the ship’s bow.
When the vessel did not change its course and head for Iranian waters, the Iranian patrol boats directed machine gun fire at the ship’s stern in an attempt to disable it, officials said. The Alpine Eternity then headed towards the territorial waters of the United Arab Emirates with the Iranian patrol craft giving chase.
The Iranian vessels broke contact with the ship after it entered UAE territorial waters, but not before the Iranian craft had themselves entered those waters, officials said. The UAE Coast Guard responded to the scene after a distress call from the Alpine Eternity. The tanker is now off the coast of Dubai and a U.S. official said there are no injuries to the ship's crew.
That incident resulted in the U.S. Navy accompanying U.S. and British-flagged vessels transiting through the Strait of Hormuz for several days.