Iranian coastguard detains vessel in Gulf of Oman

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Iranian coastguard said on Saturday that it detained a foreign vessel in the Gulf of Oman for smuggling oil.

Hussein Dehaki, the head of the Iranian coastguard in Hormozgan province south of the country, was quoted by RT as saying that Iran detained the vessel and towed it toward the Jask Port.

Dehaki said 13 crew members were arrested onboard the vessel for smuggling oil.

He did not provide details regarding the ownership of the vessel, the destination it was heading toward or the nationalities of the arrested crew members.

Tensions in the Gulf have risen since attacks on oil tankers last summer, including off the UAE coast, and a major assault on energy facilities in Saudi Arabia.

Washington has blamed Iran, which has denied being behind the attacks on global energy infrastructure.

On February 9, a US navy ship seized 150 Iranian-manufactured anti-tank guided missiles after boarding a vessel while conducting maritime security operations in the Arabian Sea.

Last Thursday, it was announced that a mixed naval exercise will start next week, where the Royal Saudi Naval Forces will host the US Navy at the King Abdulaziz Naval Base.

The “Marine Defender” exercise is an extension of a series of previous joint exercises between the two countries, according to a report by Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

“The exercise aims to raise combat readiness to maintain freedom of maritime navigation. The exercise enhances maritime security in the region and unifies the concepts of naval combat work,” according to the report.