(Photo by ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images)
OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 7:41 AM – Thursday, April 27, 2023
The United States Navy said that Iran has seized a foreign vessel in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.
NAVCENT statement on Iran’s unlawful seizure of a merchant vessel in the Gulf of Oman today: pic.twitter.com/EJxcsynA1m
— U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet (@US5thFleet) April 27, 2023
The vessel was identified as the Advantage Sweet, a Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker. The vessel had departed Kuwait and was transitioning through the Gulf of Oman, with its final destination being Houston, Texas.
“The oil tanker issued a distress call during the seizure,” the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet said. “Iran‘s actions are contrary to international law and disruptive to regional security and stability. Iran should immediately release the oil tanker.”
Tracking data had showed the vessel in the Gulf of Oman north of Muscat, Oman’s capital, on Thursday. According the Navy, the vessel issued a distress call around 1:15 p.m. when it was seized by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGCN).
The 5th Fleet, located in Bahrain, said that the seizure by Iran marks at least the fifth time that Tehran had seized a commercial vessel in the last two years.
“Iran’s continued harassment of vessels and interference with navigational rights in regional waters are a threat to maritime security and the global economy,” the 5th Fleet said.
The seizure by Iran is the latest in a series of hijackings and explosions in a region that houses the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow passage through which a fifth of all the traded oil in the world passes through.
The U.S. Navy has also blamed Iran for a series of mine attacks that had damaged several tankers in 2019, along with a drone attack in 2021 on an Israeli tanker that had caused the death of two European crew members.
Tehran denies all the attacks and has not commented on the latest seizure.
The U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet said that they are monitoring the current situation.
This is a developing story.
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