Ship hijacked off Oman appears to change course toward Iran waters
Ship hijacked off Oman appears to change course toward Iran waters

Aerial view of a tanker.

Bugto | Moment | Getty Images

An oil tanker was boarded by armed people close to the Gulf of Oman on Thursday and appeared to change course toward Iranian waters, in accordance to the U.Ok. Marine Trade Operations.

The UKMTO reported on social media that an unnamed ship was boarded by 4 or 5 unauthorized folks early Thursday at 50 nautical miles east of Sohar, Oman.

“Unauthorised boarders are reported to be carrying army model black uniforms with black masks,” the UKMTO mentioned, including that the vessel “has altered course in the direction of Iranian territorial waters and communications with the vessel have been misplaced.” recognized the vessel because the St. Nikolas, beforehand often known as the Rajan, which was beforehand concerned in an incident of allegedly violating U.S. sanctions in 2022.

A media spokesperson for Empire Navigation, which manages the St. Nikolas, advised CNBC that it misplaced contact with the vessel on Thursday, however couldn’t affirm an unauthorized boarding. The vessel was en route to Turkish port Aliaga after loading crude from the Iraqi Basrah Oil Terminal and was staffed by 18 Philippine and one Greek crew members.

It was not instantly clear who boarded the vessel. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have beforehand seized ships close to the Strait of Hormuz between Iran and Oman and used them for political leverage.

The St. Nikolas has beforehand been concerned in a dispute between Iran and the U.S.

In October, Empire Navigation mentioned it resolved a violation of U.S. sanctions with the U.S. Department of Justice, which decided that the vessel, then often known as Rajan, loaded sanctioned Iranian oil between January and February 2022 via a ship-to-ship switch close to Singapore. As a part of the fallout, Empire Navigation transported the sanctioned cargo to Houston, the place it might be forfeited to the DoJ.

Thursday’s incident is the newest in a collection of Red Sea assaults, with Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi motion concentrating on industrial vessels and compounding the maritime threat of a heavy-traffic commerce route. The Houthi say they’re finishing up their exercise in retaliation for Israel’s warfare within the Gaza Strip.

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