British Navy Group Issues Warnings Of “Potential Ship Hijack” Off UAE Coast

The British Navy issued warnings of a “potential ship hijack” of a Panama-flagged ship miles away from the United Arab Emirates coast in the Gulf of Oman. The incident comes to light amid heightened tensions between Iran and the West over Iran’s tattered nuclear deal and the subsequent economic sanctions imposed by the US on Iran.

Lloyds List of Maritime Intelligence has confirmed that the ship, a bitumen tanker named MV Asphalt Princess, has further been ordered to sail to Iran. It is sailing towards the congested Strait of Hormuz.

Ship Hijack
Representation image

It is not yet certain who has seized the ship, but analysts suspect Iranian forces are behind the hijack. The Revolutionary Guards from Iran rubbished reports stating that the accusation on them is a good pretext for “perpetuating hostile action” against Iran.

The incident occurs a week after a drone attacked an oil tanker miles away from the Oman coast. The tanker was owned by an Israeli-owned company and two crew members were killed. The US, UK and Israel accused Iran of the incident, although Iran Immediately declined any such involvement of theirs.

The British military’s the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) earlier issued warnings about a probable incident off the Fujairah coast. Later authorities stated that the incident was a ‘potential ship hijack’. It didn’t offer any more information about it.

Reports state that around nine armed men on board the MV Asphalt Princess vessel on its approach to the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz. The Strait of Hormuz is one of the crucial maritime oil passes of the world, ranking fifth.

Earlier, four oil tanker vessels reported being not “under any command”. It means that the vessels lost any power and were unable to steer.

Ranjith Raja, an oil and shipping expert from Refintiv, informed media persons that not all vessels lost all power- their engines or the capability to steer together. The owner of the ship was listed as Emirati free zone-based Glory International.

As a response to the incident, Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh stated that the maritime attacks across the region are “entirely suspicious”. He denied any involvement by Iran in any of the incidents. He further added that the naval forces of Iran are ready and will give their full support and rescue operation across the region.

Reference: pressheral.com

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