5th Fleet: Iran seizes Marshall Islands flagged tankerWritten by Nick Blenkey
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command reports that on April 27 at approximately 1:15 p.m. local time, the Marshall Islands flagged tanker Advantage Sweet was seized by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) while transiting international waters in the Gulf of Oman. The oil tanker issued a distress call during the seizure. U.S. 5th Fleet is monitoring the situation.
In a subsequent tweet, Central Command said that “initial indicators suggested that the IRGCN conducted the seizure, which is consistent with prior events. However, after sending a P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to monitor the situation, we have since been able to determine the IRIN (Iranian navy) conducted the seizure.”
“Iran’s actions are contrary to international law and disruptive to regional security and stability. The Iranian government should immediately release the oil tanker,” says a 5th Fleet statement. “Iran’s continued harassment of vessels and interference with navigational rights in regional waters are a threat to maritime security and the global economy. In the past two years, Iran has unlawfully seized at least five commercial vessels sailing in the Middle East.”
According to the Equasis data base, Advantage Sweet is a 2012-built, 159,058 dwt crude oil tanker operated by Istanbul-headquartered Genel Denizcilik Nakliyati AS.
An NBC news report says that “satellite tracking data for the vessel from MarineTraffic.com showed it in the Gulf of Oman just north of Oman’s capital, Muscat, on Thursday afternoon. It had just come from Kuwait and listed its destination as Houston, Texas.”
The Islamic Republic News Agency’s version of things is that “naval forces have seized an offending Marshal Islands-flagged ship in the Sea of Oman after it collided with an Iranian boat and attempted to flee the scene.
“The seizure came after an unknown tanker collided with an Iranian vessel late on Wednesday in the Persian Gulf, causing several Iranian crew members to go missing and get injured, Iran’s Army said on Thursday. It added that the Iranian naval forces had later intercepted the fleeing ship in the Sea of Oman and directed it toward Iran’s coastal waters.”