“Potential hijacking” of an oil tanker off the United Arab Emirates: “The incident is over,” the authorities say

The incident off the United Arab Emirates ended without damage. The people who went on board the Panamanian tanker Asphalt Princess “abandoned the ship”, the latter is “safe” and “the incident is over,” said the UKMTO (United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations) on its Wednesday Twitter account. The agency, which is dependent on the British Navy, had earlier reported a “potential diversion” located about 60 nautical miles (about 110 km) from the Emirate of Fujairah, a member of the Federation of United Arab Emirates, an oil country in the Gulf .

The attack occurred near the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz, through which a third of the world’s seaborne oil flows. The ship in question, which was bound for Sohar – a port in the north of the Sultanate of Oman, a country neighboring the Emirates and separated from Iran by the Strait of Hormuz – had asphalt and bitumen on board, d’ according to the special website MarineTrafficz.

After a deadly attack on an oil tanker in the Gulf on July 29, UKTMO had nonetheless advised vessels transiting the area to show “extreme caution” and the White House had classified the situation as “very concerning”. Two people were killed six days ago in the attack on the tanker, which is being managed by the company of Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer. They were a British citizen and a Romanian. Washington had assured that the ship had been attacked by “explosive drones”.

Iran has excelled

Diplomatic tensions were not long in coming. After the attack off Oman in late July, Israel, the United States, Britain and Romania accused Tehran of carrying out the attack on the Israeli tanker, but the Persian authorities immediately denied any connection to that attack.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh responded Tuesday that “the release of information on consecutive boat-related incidents in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea is absolutely suspicious.” In a statement on Twitter, he also warned against “creating a distorted situation for political reasons” and reiterated “Iran’s readiness to provide any assistance in the event of any maritime casualties” in the region. Iran has warned it will retaliate for any “adventurism” after threats of Israeli and American reprisals.

In the most recent incident in front of the Emirates, the USA has initially refrained from naming those responsible. For its part, Israel did not hesitate to target Iran again. On Wednesday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz called on ambassadors in Jerusalem to “hold Iran accountable,” naming a senior Iranian responsible for the tanker attack and other maritime attacks, Saeed Ara Jani, the head of the Israeli drone command Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

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