Home Middle East US Navy Reports: Iran Takes Control of Commercial Ship in Gulf

US Navy Reports: Iran Takes Control of Commercial Ship in Gulf

The US Navy observed a situation in international waters involving a vessel suspected of engaging in smuggling activity and chose not to intervene.

US Navy Reports: Iran Takes Control of Commercial Ship in Gulf

According to the United States Navy, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has forcibly seized a commercial ship in international waters in the Gulf, possibly for smuggling purposes. The US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, stated that they monitored the incident but did not see the need for further response.

The US 5th Fleet spokesperson, Commander Tim Hawkins, emphasized that US forces remain vigilant and ready to protect the navigational rights of lawful maritime traffic in the critical waters of the Middle East.

Iran has not yet commented on the incident. However, British maritime security company Ambrey reported an attempted seizure by Iranian forces of a small Tanzanian-flagged tanker, located about 59 nautical miles northeast of the Saudi Arabian port city of Dammam. Ambrey noted that Iran frequently intercepts smaller tankers that it suspects of smuggling oil.

The Strait of Hormuz, situated between Iran and Oman, is a crucial chokepoint through which approximately one-fifth of the world’s seaborne crude oil and oil products pass, as indicated by data from analytics firm Vortexa.

In recent years, there have been numerous incidents in the Gulf waterways that have sparked tensions between the US and Iran. Just the day before, the US Navy announced its intervention to prevent Iran from seizing two commercial tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

Iran, on the other hand, claimed to have a court order to seize one of the tankers that collided with an Iranian vessel in Gulf waters the previous day. In May, Tehran had also seized two other tankers, including the Marshall Islands-flagged Advantage Sweet, which had been chartered by US oil major Chevron.

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