Iran-Backed Forces Seize Oil Tanker Off UAE Coast: Report.

Iran-Backed Forces Seize Oil Tanker Off UAE Coast: Report

Tensions have simmered in the region after an attack last week on an Israeli-managed tanker. (File)

Dubai/London:

Iranian-backed forces are believed to have seized an oil tanker in the Gulf off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, three maritime security sources said, after Britain's maritime trade agency reported a "potential hijack" in the area on Tuesday.

Abolfazl Shekarchi, Iran's senior armed forces spokesman, denounced reports of maritime incidents and hijacking in the Gulf area as "a kind of psychological warfare and setting the stage for new bouts of adventurism," the Fars News Agency said.

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 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 judgment. Britain's foreign ministry was "urgently investigating" an incident on a vessel off the UAE coast, a spokesperson said.

US officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the United States military was considering repositioning at least one vessel in the general vicinity of the Asphalt Princess to keep a closer eye.

The officials said this would not be uncommon and would be to monitor the situation rather than to make any imminent military moves.

Tensions have simmered in the region after an attack last week on an Israeli-managed tanker off the Omani coast killed two crew members and was blamed on Iran by the United States, Israel and Britain. Iran has denied responsibility.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), in a warning notice based on a third-party source, had earlier reported a "potential hijack" and advised ships to exercise extreme caution due to the incident around 60 nautical miles east of the UAE's Fujairah emirate.

Reports Of Hijacking

The Times of London newspaper also reported that the Asphalt Princess had been hijacked, citing British sources as saying they were "working on the assumption Iranian military or proxies boarded the vessel".

The US Navy's Fifth Fleet and UAE authorities did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment.

Alluding to the reports, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister told a US think-tank in an online appearance that he sees an emboldened Iran acting in a negative manner in the region, including endangering shipping.

On Tuesday, at least five ships in the sea between the UAE and Iran 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.

Nour News , affiliated with Iran's top national security body, quoted a senior navy official as saying "the movement of commercial vessels is quite normal and no official naval sources or countries in the Persian Gulf have reported any incidents".

Iran's foreign ministry said the reports of maritime incidents were "suspicious" and warned against any effort to create a "false atmosphere" against Tehran.

The United States and Britain said on Sunday they would work with their allies to respond to last week's attack on the Mercer Street, a Liberian-flagged, Japanese-owned petroleum product tanker managed by Israeli-owned Zodiac Maritime.

Iran denied any involvement in that suspected drone strike and said it would respond to any threat against its security.

Britain, Romania and Liberia told the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday that it was "highly likely" that Iran used one or more drones to carry out a deadly tanker attack last week off the coast of Oman.

US officials have said privately they are watching the situation closely but do not expect a military response for now.

Tensions have risen in Gulf waters and between Iran and Israel since 2018, when then-President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers and reimposed sanctions that have crippled its economy.

Iran and Israel, longtime adversaries, have exchanged accusations of carrying out attacks on each other's vessels in recent months.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV News

NDTV.com provides latest news from India and the world. Get today’s news headlines from Business, Technology, Bollywood, Cricket, videos, photos, live news coverage and exclusive breaking news from India.

https://www.ndtv.com/

Related news
UK energy firms hold talks with government amid fears gas price hike could lead to shortages.

UK energy firms hold talks with government amid fears gas price hike could lead to shortages.

The government is meeting with representatives from Britain's energy firms amid fears a spike in gas prices could lead to food and fuel shortages. Sky News understands Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng will spend today talking to senior executives...

Security high for right-wing rally in Washington DC - DW News.

Security high for right-wing rally in Washington DC - DW News.

Police in Washington DC are beefing up security to prepare for potential violence at a far-right rally. The organization "Look Ahead America" has called on right-wing and extremist groups to take to the streets. It wants to show support for those ...

Copy of the US Constitution from 1787 could be yours for $20MILLION as it goes up for auction.

Copy of the US Constitution from 1787 could be yours for $20MILLION as it goes up for auction.

A FIRST edition copy of the US Constitution from 1787 is going up for auction and could fetch $20million. The extremely rare edition of the “Bundle of Compromises” is being offered to the deepest pocketed bidder by Sotheby's come mid-November. Rea...

Tales from 100 years at the Prime Minister's Chequers retreat.

Tales from 100 years at the Prime Minister's Chequers retreat.

The six men and women who have been UK prime ministers seldom mix together except for solemn occasions such as funerals and Remembrance Sunday. The dinner to mark a century of prime ministers living at Chequers this weekend is not going to be the ...

Petito's fiancé, Brian Laundrie, reported missing from FL home.

Petito's fiancé, Brian Laundrie, reported missing from FL home.

Fox News 24/7 Headlines reporter Carley Shimkus on the latest developments in Gabby Petito's disappearance. #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassin...

German election: How the Olds call the shots at the ballot box - DW News.

German election: How the Olds call the shots at the ballot box - DW News.

There's just a week to go before Germans head to the polls to elect a new parliament and a successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel. With voters deciding on key issues like the pandemic, climate change and the economy, it's being called their most im...