An attempted pirate attack on the US cargo ship Maersk Texas in the Gulf of Oman followed the arrival of an Iranian warship, which was patrolling the area at the time. The pirates fled upon the arrival of the ship.
Neither the Danish company Maersk Line nor the Pentagon is willing to give Iran any credit, however. The company insisted the ship was “contacted” by the Iranians but that they assumed their own warning shots had scared off the pirate skiffs. Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr Mark Hankey went one step further, saying that it “is not clear from the information … whether this was a piracy event,” and insisted that Iran responding to the mayday call was “perfectly normal.”
The latter of course is true enough, but it is still noteworthy how eager the Pentagon was to toot its own horn when US warships saved Iranian fishermen from pirates in the same area a few months ago.
The US State Department, for its part, isn’t disputing what happened, but would only say that it is “aware of the incident.” Not exactly the appreciation one might expect. Yet with tensions continuing to rise between the two nations, a simple recognition on both sides of the mutual benefits of helping one another’s ships on the high seas could go a long way toward reconciliation.