U.S. “Tactical Force” investigates oil tankers suspected of being seized in the Gulf

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Middle East and North Africa update

The United States is investigating the alleged hijacking of an oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman by “adjusting power” because the tension with Iran has increased after the alleged hijacking of an oil tanker. attack Last week on a ship that killed two people.

The British Maritime Trade Center of the Royal Navy, which monitors shipping traffic in the Gulf, said on Tuesday that a “potential hijacking incident” occurred about 60 miles east of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.

A US defense official said: “We are sending troops to check it out,” adding that a ship is expected to arrive in the area “in the next few hours.” “We are investigating the situation. We are concerned. We are negotiating with international partners.”

The Office of Foreign Affairs, Commonwealth and Development of the United Kingdom said: “We are urgently investigating an accident on a ship off the coast of the UAE.”

Maritime security sources said that at least five armed men are believed to have boarded and seized an oil tanker in the bay, but the exact identity of the ship is in dispute.

The shipping industry publication Lloyd’s Register of Shipping quoted people involved in the crisis response as saying that the ship was an asphalt carrier called Asphalt Princess and that the ship had been ordered to go to Iran.

On Tuesday, the Asphalt Princess occasionally broadcasts its Automatic Identification System (AIS) signal, including around midnight Oman time, when it was still about halfway between Fujairah and Iran. In the past, for example, when Iran seized a Stena Impero tanker flying the British flag in 2019, it quickly sailed the ship into Iranian waters.

US and British officials did not confirm the identity of the ship hijacked on Tuesday, only saying that they are investigating.

Another maritime security source said that he understands that the Asphalt Princess was seized, but he emphasized that the owner of the tanker, UAE Prime Tankers LLC, had previously been seized by Iran in 2019, another ship, MT Riah. Smuggling.

But others in the maritime security department said that the identity of the tanker is still uncertain. Some tankers in the area broadcast their status as “uncommanded” via AIS on Tuesday, which may indicate a problem on board.

On Friday, the Israeli-managed MV Mercer Street tanker was attacked, resulting in the death of a British maritime security officer and a Romanian crew member, leading to increased tensions on one of the world’s major oil transportation routes.

Britain, the United States and Israel have Blame the attack on Iran, Which involves an aerial drone. US Secretary of State Anthony Brinken stated that Washington “believes that Iran launched the attack” and that the United States is coordinating a “collective response” with Britain, Romania and Israel.

Iran’s hardline president Ibrahim Raisi (Ebrahim Raisi), assumed The office held in Tehran on Tuesday and took a provocative tone on relations with world powers, including the restoration of the nuclear agreement.

Reisi said that he will take measures to lift “unjust” US sanctions, but his first task is to solve economic problems.

“We will never link people’s livelihoods and economy to the decisions of alien forces,” Raisy said.

Iran denies responsibility for the MV Mercer attack, which may complicate efforts to resume nuclear negotiations that have largely stalled in recent weeks.

Iran’s ambassador to the UK Mohsen Baharvand told the Financial Times this week that London’s decision to blame Iran for the attack on MV Mercer Street was a “very immature response”.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards denied that it or its allies were involved in the incident on Tuesday, saying the allegations were intended to defend “hostilities” against the country.

Iran and Israel are caught in a shadow war, and both sides accuse them of launching attacks on each other’s merchant ships and other interests.

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