VIDEO: Iran grabs another tanker in Strait of HormuzWritten by Nick Blenkey
U.S. Central Command has released video of an incident today, May 3, when at approximately 6:20 a.m. local time, the Panama-flagged oil tanker Niovi was seized by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) while transiting the Strait of Hormuz.
The oil tanker departed Dubai and was transiting from the Arabian Gulf toward the port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates when a dozen IRGCN fast-attack craft swarmed the vessel in the middle of the strait. The IRGCN subsequently forced the oil tanker to reverse course and head toward Iranian territorial waters off the coast of Bandar Abbas, Iran.
A previous incident occurred six days ago when the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy seized Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker Advantage Sweet while it transited international waters in the Gulf of Oman.
“Iran’s actions are contrary to international law and disruptive to regional security and stability. Over the past two years, Iran has harassed, attacked or interfered with the navigational rights of 15 internationally flagged merchant vessels,” says Central Command, adding, “Iran’s continued harassment of vessels and interference with navigational rights in regional waters are unwarranted, irresponsible and a present threat to maritime security and the global economy.”
According to reports, Iran’s seizure of the first ship, Advantage Sweet, came after the U.S. took control of the Iranian oil cargo aboard the Marshall Islands tanker Suez Rajan in response to a court order. The state-controlled Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA)) said that the Advantage Sweet had been seized after it collided with an Iranian boat and attempted to flee the scene. Today IRNA cited Tehran’s Public and Revolution Prosecutor’s office as saying that the Niovi had been seized in the Strait of Hormuz “because of a private complaint and a subsequent order by relevant judicial authorities.”
The 2005-built, 309,164 dwt, Niovi is managed by Piraeus-based Smart Tankers Inc. and owned by Grand Financing Co, which gives its address as in care of Smart Tankers.