(RepublicanNews.org) – Officials reported that an oil tanker that had been at the heart of a dispute between Tehran and Washington was captured on January 11th by the Iranian navy in the Gulf of Oman. This further raises hostilities in the Mideast waterways.
During the year-long dispute, the U.S. Justice Department seized 1 million barrels of oil from the tanker, formerly known as the Suez Rajan.
The oil tanker St. Nikolas was carrying crude oil for the Turkish refinery business Tupras when four or five armed individuals boarded it off the coast of Basra, Iraq, according to private security agency Ambrey. The ship was on its route to Aliaga, Turkey.
The Greek shipping firm Empire Navigation was linked with the tanker. The ship, carrying 18 Filipinos and one Greek, went missing.
Reports show the Houthi rebels of Yemen, whom Iran supports, had been attacking Red Sea vessels for weeks, launching their biggest-ever barrage of missiles and drones before this capture.
Middle Eastern sailors were alerted that the seizure last week started in the early hours in the seas between Iran and Oman, where ships travel through the Strait of Hormuz, which carries one-fifth of the world’s traded oil.
According to the United Kingdom, the ship’s security manager informed the captain that he had heard voices on the ship’s phone. The individuals who boarded the vessel wore black military-style clothing and black masks. Further attempts to speak to the ship were unsuccessful.
There have been several clashes between the Iranian Navy and the United States Navy along the canal, but the recent Houthi assaults on vessels in the Red Sea have captured much of the media’s attention.
Along with its allies, the United States has been intercepting oil shipments from Iran since 2019. As a result, the Islamic Republic has been blamed for a slew of incidents throughout the Middle East, and its armed forces and paramilitary groups have threatened international trade by seizing ships.
Israeli forces are fighting Hamas in the Gaza Strip, while the Houthis claim they are attacking to end the suffering of Palestinians. But rebels have been going against ships with nonexistent links to Israel.
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