The incident on board a ship off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, which is being considered a “potential hijacking”, ended without damage, Britain’s maritime safety agency UKMTO said on Wednesday, six days after a deadly attack on an oil tanker in the Gulf.
The people who boarded “abandoned the ship”, the latter is “safe” and “the incident is over,” explains the UKMTO (United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations) on its Twitter account.
The day before, this British Navy-dependent agency had reported a “potential diversion” located about 60 nautical miles from the Emirate of Fujairah, a member of the Federation of United Arab Emirates, an oil country in the Gulf.
The organization had advised ships passing through the area to exercise “extreme caution” and the White House had classified the situation as “very concerning”.
The website of Lloyd’s List magazine, an industry reference, said on Tuesday that the ship was sailing towards Iran under the control of armed men.
The affected ship, which flies the Panamanian flag and is named “Asphalt Princess” according to analysts at Dryad Global, was en route to Sohar – a port in the north of the Sultanate of Oman, a neighboring country to the Emirates Board – carrying asphalt and bitumen, according to the specialized website Marine Traffic.
Iran has excelled
The incident, which took place not far from the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz, through which a third of the world’s seaborne oil flows, came after a July 29 attack on an oil tanker managed by an Israeli billionaire’s company, Eyal Ofer, who killed two people: a British and a Romanian national.
The tanker — attacked by “explosive drones” according to Washington — anchored off Fujairah on Tuesday.
Israel, the US, Britain and Romania have accused Tehran of carrying out the attack, but Iran has denied it and warned it will retaliate for any “adventurousness” following threats of Israeli and American retaliation
Reported “incidents” in the Persian Gulf and the wider region appear extremely suspicious.
Iran reaffirms our strong commitment to regional stability and maritime security and stands ready to offer assistance in the event of any accident at sea.
— Saeed Khatibzadeh (@SKhatibzadeh) August 3, 2021
The Gulf has seen several ship attacks in recent years attributed to the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is regularly accused of threatening freedom of navigation.
The Gulf countries, the Emirates and Iran maintain diplomatic ties but have traditionally found themselves on opposite sides on regional issues, including ties with Israel, with whom the Emirates normalized relations in 2020.