FUJAIRAH, ARAB EMIRATES: Vessel Off UAE Coast – According to the British navy: Hijackers who took a ship of the United Arab Emirates in the Gulf of Oman left the vessel on Wednesday without details.
The hijackers leave the targeted ship, the British navy says. “The vessel is safe,” the group says, without identifying the ship.
The incident was described as a “potential hijack” the night before. It unfolded amid heightened tensions between Iran and the West over the nuclear deal.
Oman is near the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of all oil passes.
Fujairah is a leading port in the region for ships to take on new oil cargo, pick up supplies, or trade out the crew. However, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard troops detained a British-flagged tanker last.
The event: labelled as a “Potential Hijack” the night before, was now “completed,” according to the British military in the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations. It did not, however, disclose any other information.
The Vessel Is Secure
The group stated, “The vessel is secure,” without naming the ship. The stolen vessel, the Panama-flagged asphalt tanker Asphalt Princess, was named by shipping authority Lloyd’s List and maritime intelligence agency Dryad Global.
The vessel’s owner, Glory International, based in the Emirati free zone, could not be reached for comment immediately.
According to MarineTraffic.com, satellite monitoring data for the Asphalt Princess showed it steadily approaching Iranian waters around the port of Jask early Wednesday. Later, just as the British navy group declared the intruders had left, it came to a halt and reversed direction for Oman.
According to data from FlightRadar24.com, two Oman Royal Air Force aircraft, an Airbus C-295MPA and a Lockheed C-130H Hercules, passed over the waters of Fujairah on Wednesday following the incident.
Who is behind the Hijack?
It was unclear that who was behind the attempted hijacking, which occurred amid rising tensions between Iran and the West over Tehran’s shattered 2015 nuclear deal with international powers. Commercial shipping is crucial for Persian Gulf waterways targeted over the last few years.
The United States of America, The United Kingdom, and Israel have lately implicated Iran for a drone strike that killed two individuals off the coast of Oman on an oil tanker tied to an Israeli business person.
The raid was the first recorded lethal attack in the shadow war, which targeted ships in Middle Eastern waters. However, Iran has categorically denied any connection.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh marked the recent naval attacks in the Persian Gulf as “completely suspicious” in response to Tuesday’s ship seizure.
He, on the other hand, denied that Iran was involved in any way.
The US military’s 5th Fleet in the Middle East and the British Defense Ministry did not respond to comments on the alleged hijacking.
Similarly, the Emirati government failed to acknowledge the occurrence right afterwards.
Not Under Command
According to MarineTraffic.com, as the alleged hijacking was in progress, six oil tankers off the coast of Fujairah announced around the same time via their Automatic Identification System trackers that they were “not under command.”
The Gulf of Oman is close to the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf’s smallmouth through which a fifth of the world’s oil passes.
On the UAE’s eastern coast, Fujairah is a major port for ships bringing in new oil cargo, picking up supplies, or changing crews.
The US Navy
The waters of Fujairah have seen a succession of explosions and hijackings in the previous two years after then-President Donald Trump pulled the US from the Iran nuclear deal and put crippling sanctions on the country.
The US Navy also blamed Iran for a series of limpet mine assaults on ships that damaged tankers.
The Stena Impero, a British-flagged tanker, was detained by Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops near the Strait of Hormuz in the summer of 2019 — a raid that came after Britain seized an Iranian tanker off the coast Gibraltar on suspicion of heading to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.
Oil Ship by the US
Last year, an oil ship wanted by the US for allegedly evading Iranian sanctions was hijacked off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and later found its way to Iran, but Tehran has never confirmed the occurrence.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard
In addition, armed Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops boarded a South Korean tanker in January, forcing the vessel to alter course and proceed to Iran.
While Iran claimed the ship was seized due to pollution concerns, the seizure appeared to be linked to talks over billions of dollars in Iranian assets locked in South Korean banks.
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