The UK navy, in initial reports, has suggested that one or more than one oil tanker have been hijacked off the coast of UAE in the Gulf of Oman, according to reports from AP news.
The responsible party is yet to be identified; the oil tankers nearby communicated via Automatic Identification System trackers that they were “not under command,” according to MarineTraffic.com.
Initially, it was stated that a UK navy vessel had been hijacked. However, the same was rectified to confirm that it was not the hijacked navy vessel but the oil tankers anchored nearby. According to reports from Sky News, the ship was located 60 miles (97 km) east of Fujairah; a group of 9 people boarded the vessel called the Asphalt Princess. “It was an unauthorized boarding in the Gulf of Oman,” said a security source in the report.
It was declared by the United Kindom’s Maritime Trade Operations on Tuesday that “an incident is currently underway” near the coast of Fujairah, and a few hours later, they updated and added that the scenario had become a “potential hijack.” The United States’ 5th Fleet is based near the incident site in the Middle East, still has to state the matter, and what action has been taken on the incident is yet to be known. The British Defense Ministry has also kept quiet over the matter till now. Earlier on Tuesday, four oil tankers communicated via their Automatic Identification System trackers that the ships were “not under command,” which clearly implies that a vessel is not powered. But one of them resumed moving later.
“Iran’s naval forces are ready for help and rescue in the region,” said Khatibzadeh, in the IRNA report, according to AP News. Saeed Khatibzadeh, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson, stated that the maritime attacks in the region were “completely suspicious,” and he clearly refuted any claims of Iran’s involvement in the hijacking situation. This incident has happened days after a drone slammed into an oil tanker associated with an Israeli billionaire near the coast of Oman, resulting in the death of two crew members. Authorities in the West swiftly laid the blame on Iran for the happening. The drone impact marked the first known attack to leave civilians dead after a long shadow war against commercial vessels in the area spanning over the years.
Iran has refused to claim any responsibility for the drone impact. Still, it cannot be ruled out as Tehran and its associates have previously used “suicide” drones to attack adversaries. The Strait of Hormuz is really close to the Gulf of Oman, the narrow entryway into the Persian Gulf is from where one-fifth of all global oil is transported. While there is no relation between the U.K. and the early oil tanker reported by the British Navy, this minor but significant incident has disrupted the world’s shipping.