Iran’s army said on Thursday its naval forces seized a Marshal Islands-flagged ship in the Gulf of Oman after it collided with an Iranian boat and attempted to flee the scene.
In a statement carried by state media, the army said the incident occurred on Wednesday night in the Gulf, resulting in several Iranian crew members going missing and sustaining injuries.
The Iranian naval forces later intercepted the fleeing ship in the Gulf of Oman and directed it towards Iran’s coastal waters, the statement said.
Earlier on Thursday, the US Navy said Iranian forces seized the Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker Advantage Sweet “while transiting international waters in the Gulf of Oman.”
The US Navy criticized Iran’s “continued harassment of vessels and interference with navigational rights in regional waters” and called for the immediate release of the oil tanker.
“In the past two years, Iran has unlawfully seized at least five commercial vessels sailing in the Middle East,” it said.
The vessel’s manager, a Turkish firm called Advantage Tankers, issued a statement acknowledging the Advantage Sweet was “being escorted by the Iranian navy to a port on the basis of an international dispute.”
“The safety and welfare of our valued crew members is our No. 1 priority,” the firm said. “Similar experiences show that crew members of vessels taken under such circumstances are in no danger.”
The ship’s listed owner appeared to be a Chinese company.
Manifest information from data firm Refinitiv showed the Advantage Sweet carried Kuwaiti crude oil for American energy firm Chevron Corp. of San Ramon, California.
With the Associated Press