Britain accuses Iran: was a British tanker kidnapped by armed men in the Gulf of Oman?

A ship may have been hijacked in the Gulf of Oman off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. The British Maritime Warning Center (UKMTO) first issued a warning on Tuesday because of an “incident” about 60 nautical miles east of the Emirate of Fujairah.

A ship may have been hijacked in the Gulf of Oman off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. The British Maritime Warning Center (UKMTO) first issued a warning on Tuesday because of an “incident” about 60 nautical miles east of the Emirate of Fujairah. All nearby ships should be “extremely careful,” it said. The UKMTO issued another warning shortly afterwards of a “possible kidnapping”.

According to the company Dryad Global, which specializes in maritime security, the ship “Asphalt Princess”, a tanker sailing under the flag of Panama , is involved. The Omani Air Force was in action with sea reconnaissance planes in the area, it said. On the website Flightradar 24 it could be seen that a reconnaissance aircraft was circling over the area in question. The Gulf of Oman lies between Oman and Iran.

There was initially no official confirmation of the incident. At first it was also unclear how many ships were involved and who could be behind the alleged kidnapping.

Armed men are said to have hijacked British tankers The British Times reported, citing government sources, that a “force” of eight or more armed men had taken control of the Asphalt Princess. The government in London assumes that Iran or militias allied with it are responsible for the kidnapping. The UK Foreign Office said it is “urgently investigating an incident on a ship off the coast of the United Arab Emirates”.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry described the incident as “suspicious” and warned against again baseless allegations against Iran. “These continuous incidents for the ships in the Persian Gulf are extremely questionable and suspicious,” said Foreign Office spokesman Said Chatibsadeh. Above all, the incidents should not be used as a pretext for the implementation of certain political goals in the region. The security of shipping in the Persian Gulf is extremely important for Iran and therefore Tehran is also ready to offer its assistance, according to the spokesman, according to the Isna news agency.

Situation in the region is tense Ships enter the Persian Gulf via the Gulf of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz. The route is considered to be one of the most important sea connections for international trade.

The situation in the region is particularly tense for shipping. There had been incidents there again and again. Most recently, a British man and the Romanian captain were killed in a drone attack on the “Mercer Street” oil tanker in the Persian Gulf. Great Britain, Romania, Israel and the USA blame Iran for the incident. Iran rejected an implication.

The background to the tensions in the Middle East, which have increased in recent years, is, among other things, the dispute over the international nuclear agreement with Iran. The USA unilaterally terminated the agreement in May 2018. Since then, there have been several incidents and acts of sabotage against oil tankers and attacks on oil facilities in the Gulf. The latest incidents come just days before the inauguration of the new Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

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