British navy group: ‘Potential hijack’ of ship off UAE coast

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The British navy warned of a “potential hijack” of a ship off the coast of the United Arab Emirates within the Gulf of Oman on Tuesday, although the circumstances remained unclear.

The incident comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the West over Tehran’s tattered nuclear take care of world powers and as industrial delivery within the area has discovered itself caught within the crosshairs. Most lately, the U.S., the U.Okay. and Israel have blamed Iran for a drone assault on an oil tanker off the coast of Oman that killed two folks. Iran has denied involvement.

The British navy’s United Kingdom Maritime Commerce Operations initially warned ships Tuesday that “an incident is at present underway” off the coast of Fujairah. Hours later, the authorities stated the incident was a “potential hijack,” however offered no additional particulars.

Transport authority Lloyd’s Checklist and maritime intelligence agency Dryad World each recognized the vessel concerned within the incident as Panama-flagged asphalt tanker Asphalt Princess. The vessel’s proprietor, listed as Emirati free zone-based Glory Worldwide, couldn’t instantly be reached for remark late Tuesday.

Satellite tv for pc-tracking information for the vessel confirmed it slowly heading towards Iranian waters off the port of Jask early Wednesday, in keeping with MarineTraffic.com.

The U.S. navy’s Mideast-based fifth Fleet and the British Protection Ministry additionally didn’t instantly return requires remark. The Emirati authorities didn’t instantly acknowledge the incident.

Earlier, six oil tankers introduced across the similar time through their Computerized Identification System trackers that they had been “not below command,” in keeping with MarineTraffic.com. That usually means a vessel has misplaced energy and might not steer.

“On the similar time, if they’re in the identical neighborhood and in the identical place, then very not often that occurs,” stated Ranjith Raja, an oil and delivery professional with information agency Refintiv. “Not all of the vessels would lose their engines or their functionality to steer on the similar time.”

One of many vessels later started transferring.

An Oman Royal Air Drive Airbus C-295MPA, a maritime patrol plane, flew in circles for hours over the waters, in keeping with information from FlightRadar24.com.

Apparently responding to the incident, Overseas Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh known as the latest maritime assaults within the Persian Gulf “fully suspicious.” He denied that Iran was concerned.

“Iran’s naval forces are prepared for assist and rescue within the area,” Khatibzadeh stated.

From Washington, State Division spokesman Ned Value advised reporters it was “too early for us to supply a judgement simply but” concerning the occasions unfolding within the Gulf of Oman. However citing the latest assault on an oil tanker linked to an Israeli billionaire that killed two crew members in close by waters, Value stated, “We have now seen a really disturbing sample of belligerence from Iran, together with belligerence within the maritime area.”

The West has blamed Iran for launching the drone strike final week on the oil tanker off the coast of Oman, which marked the primary identified assault to have killed civilians within the yearslong shadow conflict focusing on industrial vessels within the area. Iran denied enjoying any position, although Tehran and its allied militias have used related “suicide” drones in previous assaults.

Israel, the US and United Kingdom have vowed an unspecified “collective response” to the assault.

The Gulf of Oman is close to the Strait of Hormuz, the slender mouth of the Persian Gulf via which a fifth of all oil passes. Fujairah, on the UAE’s japanese coast, is a predominant port within the area for ships to tackle new oil cargo, choose up provides or commerce out crew.

For the previous two years, the waters off Fujairah have seen a sequence of explosions and hijackings. The U.S. Navy blamed Iran for a sequence of limpet mine assaults on vessels that broken tankers.

In July 2019, Iran seized the British-flagged Stena Impero within the Strait of Hormuz because it was headed from the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas to Dubai. The raid got here after authorities in Gibraltar, a British abroad territory, seized an Iranian supertanker carrying $130 million in crude oil on suspicion it was breaking European Union sanctions by taking the oil to Syria. Each vessels had been later launched.

Final yr, an oil tanker sought by the U.S. over allegedly circumventing sanctions on Iran was hijacked off the Emirati coast in July, following months of tensions between Iran and the U.S. The vessel and its crew ended up in Iran, although Tehran by no means acknowledged the incident.

And in January, armed Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops stormed a South Korean tanker and compelled the ship to alter course and journey to Iran. Whereas Iran insisted it stopped the ship for polluting, it got here as Tehran sought to extend its leverage over Seoul forward of negotiations over billions of {dollars} in Iranian belongings frozen in South Korean banks.



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