Iran-backed forces seize tanker, maritime sources say; Iran denies it


Iranian-backed forces are believed to have seized an oil tanker within the Gulf off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, three maritime safety sources mentioned, after Britain’s maritime commerce company reported a “potential hijack” within the space on Tuesday.

Abolfazl Shekarchi, Iran’s senior armed forces spokesman, denounced reviews of maritime incidents and hijacking within the Gulf space as “a form of psychological warfare and setting the stage for brand spanking new bouts of adventurism,” the Fars Information Company mentioned.

Two of the maritime sources recognized the seized vessel because the Panama-flagged asphalt/bitumen tanker Asphalt Princess in an space within the Arabian Sea resulting in the Strait of Hormuz, the conduit for a few fifth of the world’s seaborne oil exports.

The U.S. State Division mentioned it was involved and searching into reviews of a maritime incident within the Gulf of Oman, however that it was too early to supply a judgment. Britain’s overseas ministry was “urgently investigating” an incident on a vessel off the UAE coast, a spokesperson mentioned.

U.S. officers, talking on the situation of anonymity, mentioned the US army was contemplating repositioning at the least one vessel within the normal neighborhood of the Asphalt Princess to maintain a better eye.

The officers mentioned this could not be unusual and could be to observe the state of affairs relatively than to make any imminent army strikes.

Tensions have simmered within the area after an assault final week on an Israeli-managed tanker off the Omani coast killed two crew members and was blamed on Iran by the US, Israel and Britain. Iran has denied duty.

The UK Maritime Commerce Operations (UKMTO), in a warning discover based mostly on a third-party supply, had earlier reported a “potential hijack” and suggested ships to train excessive warning because of the incident round 60 nautical miles east of the UAE’s Fujairah emirate.


The Occasions of London newspaper additionally reported that the Asphalt Princess had been hijacked, citing British sources as saying they have been “engaged on the idea Iranian army or proxies boarded the vessel”. learn extra

The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet and UAE authorities didn’t instantly reply to a Reuters request for remark.

Alluding to the reviews, Saudi Arabia’s overseas minister advised a U.S. assume tank in a web-based look that he sees an emboldened Iran performing in a unfavorable method within the area, together with endangering delivery. L1N2PA1RV

On Tuesday at the least 5 ships within the sea between the UAE and Iran up to date their AIS monitoring standing to “Not Beneath Command”, in keeping with Refinitiv ship monitoring information. Such a standing typically signifies a ship is unable to manoeuvre because of distinctive circumstances.

Nour Information, affiliated with Iran’s high nationwide safety physique, quoted a senior navy official as saying “the motion of economic vessels is sort of regular and no official naval sources or international locations within the Persian Gulf have reported any incidents”.

Iran’s overseas ministry mentioned the reviews of maritime incidents have been “suspicious” and warned in opposition to any effort to create a “false ambiance” in opposition to Tehran. learn extra

The USA and Britain mentioned on Sunday they’d work with their allies to answer final week’s assault on the Mercer Road, a Liberian-flagged, Japanese-owned petroleum product tanker managed by Israeli-owned Zodiac Maritime.

Iran denied any involvement in that suspected drone strike and mentioned it might reply to any menace in opposition to its safety.

Britain, Romania and Liberia advised the United Nations Safety Council on Tuesday that it was “extremely possible” that Iran used a number of drones to hold out a lethal tanker assault final week off the coast of Oman. learn extra

U.S. officers have mentioned privately they’re watching the state of affairs intently however don’t count on a army response for now.

Tensions have risen in Gulf waters and between Iran and Israel since 2018, when then-President Donald Trump withdrew the US from Tehran’s 2015 nuclear take care of six world powers and reimposed sanctions which have crippled its economic system.

Iran and Israel, longtime adversaries, have exchanged accusations of finishing up assaults on one another’s vessels in latest months.

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