Despite reports in some media, there are no Americans on board, the official said.
The ship, a Marshall Islands flagged vessel, was transiting the Strait into the Persian Gulf on an internationally recognized maritime route, the U.S. official said.
The Iranian military contacted the vessel and directed the ship master to “divert further into Iranian Waters,” according to the official.
“The master initially declined and one of the IRGCN (Iranian mlitary) patrol craft fired shots across the Maersk Tigris’ bow. The master then complied and diverted under escort by the IRGCN vessels.”
After the shots were fired, the Tigris issued a distress call which was picked up by U.S. forces in the area and the USS Farragut was ordered to head towards the incident. The official said the closest U.S. warship was 60 miles from the incident.
The U.S. Navy has also sent aircraft to monitor the status.
According to the shipping company, which is in contact with the U.S. military, the Iranian military has boarded the ship, the official said.