Concern over ‘hijack’ of oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards denied that Iranian forces or allies were involved in action against any ship off the Gulf coast.
Iranian-backed forces are believed to have seized an oil tanker in the Gulf, three maritime security sources said, after Britain’s maritime trade agency reported a “potential hijack” in the area on Tuesday.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards denied that Iranian forces or allies were involved in action against any ship off the Gulf coast, saying the incident was a pretext for “hostile action” against Tehran, state television reported on its website.
Two of the maritime sources identified the seized vessel as the Panama-flagged asphalt/bitumen tanker Asphalt Princess in an area in the Arabian Sea leading to the Strait of Hormuz, the conduit for about a fifth of the world’s seaborne oil exports.
The vessel’s owner, listed as UAE free zone-based Glory International, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Earlier on Tuesday, at least five ships in the area updated their AIS tracking status to “Not Under Command”, according to Refinitiv ship tracking data. Such a status generally indicates a ship is unable to manoeuvre due to exceptional circumstances.
The US State Department said it was concerned and looking into reports of a maritime incident in the Gulf of Oman, but that it was too early to offer a judgement. Britain’s foreign ministry was “urgently investigating” an incident on a vessel off the UAE coast, a spokesperson said.
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