Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said on Thursday a ship seized by Iranian forces in the Arabian Gulf hosted Panama’s flag. The ship, “First Lady,” is not a Malaysian ship and has no link whatsoever with Malaysia, the minister said in a press statement, alluding to the maritime vessel that was reportedly seized by Iranian Revolutionary Guards with 16 Malaysian sailors on board.
However, the minister denied Iranian reports indicating that there were Malaysians on it. “The ship may have been registered in Malaysia however its owner is not a Malaysian citizen thus we have nothing to do with it,” he said.
The Iranian guards took control of the ship in the Gulf waters two days ago on suspicion of smuggling fuel. The 16-member Malaysian crew was arrested, also according to Iranian reports. It was the sixth ship to be seized by Iran at the pretext of fuel trafficking. In September, the Iranian naval forces seized a boat and detained the 12- Filipino crew.