DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The US Navy said on Monday that its sailors and the UK’s Royal Navy were coming to the aid of a ship in the crucial Strait of Hormuz after it was “harassed” by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
According to a statement from the US Navy, three fast-attack guard ships with armed troops on board approached the merchant vessel on Sunday afternoon. He offered black-and-white images purported to be from a US Navy Boeing P-8 Poseidon aircraft that showed three small vessels near the merchant vessel.
The guided missile destroyer USS McFaul of the US Navy and the frigate HMS Lancaster of the Royal Navy responded to the incident, the Lancaster launched a helicopter.
“The situation eased approximately one hour later when the merchant vessel confirmed that the fast attack craft had left the scene,” the navy said. – The merchant ship continued through the Strait of Hormuz without further incident.
20% of the world’s oil flows through the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf.
While the Navy did not identify the vessel involved, MarineTraffic.com vessel tracking data analyzed by The Associated Press showed that the Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier Venture had erratically changed course as it passed through the strait at the time of the incident. Its location also matched the information provided by the UK Maritime Trade Operations, the British military operation overseeing traffic in the area, about the incident. The ship also resembled images released by the Navy.
The ship’s registered manager, Trust Bulkers of Athens, Greece, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Iranian state media and the Revolutionary Guard did not immediately acknowledge the incident. Iran’s UN mission did not immediately respond to the comment.
This latest incident follows a series of maritime incidents with Iran since the United States unilaterally pulled out of Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers in 2018.
The suspected U.S. seizure of the Suez Rajan, a tanker linked to a U.S. private equity firm believed to be carrying sanctioned Iranian crude off Singapore, may have prompted Tehran to seize the Marshall Islands-flagged Advantage Sweet recently. . The vessel was carrying crude oil from Kuwait for the energy company Chevron Corp. of San Ramon, California.
Although authorities have not acknowledged the seizure of the Suez Rajan, the ship is now off the coast of Galveston, Texas, according to ship tracking data analyzed by the AP.
Meanwhile, Iran has separately seized the Niovit, a Panamanian-flagged tanker that left a dry dock in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and was bound for Fujairah on the UAE’s east coast. Although he did not carry cargo, the data S&P Global Market Intelligence seen by the AP showed that Niovi received oil in July 2020 from a vessel then known as Oman Pride.
In August 2021, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned the Oman Pride and others associated with the vessel on board for “participating in an international oil smuggling network” that supported the Quds Force, the Guard’s expeditionary force in the Middle East. Alleged emails published online by Wikiran, a website seeking leaked documents from the Islamic Republic, suggest that cargo carried by Niovi was sold to Chinese companies without permission.
Satellite images analyzed by the AP show the two ships anchored off Iran’s Bandar Abbas.
The recent seizures have put new pressure on the United States, which has long been the security guarantor of the Gulf Arab nations. The United Arab Emirates last week said it had previously “withdrawn its participation” from the joint naval command Combined Maritime Forces, although the US Navy says it is still part of the group. Meanwhile, the US military’s Central Command said on Saturday that its commander had visited the region, met with Emirati leader Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and “discussed shared regional security concerns and the US-UAE security partnership”.
The Middle East commanders of the US, British and French navies last month also crossed the Strait of Hormuz on Friday aboard a US warship, a sign of their united commitment to keep the vital waterway open after Iran seized two oil tankers tanker.
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