In between rising tensions amongst Tehran and the US, the Iran Navy briefly seized a Liberian-flagged oil tanker near the Strait of Hormuz. A black and white video was published by the US Military’s Central Command, depicting special forces fast-roping down from a helicopter onto the tanker. The positioning happened to be near the City of Khorfakkan, off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.
The Iranian helicopter is supposed to be a Sikorsky SH-3 Sea king, only under the use of the Iranian Navy. Operations in The Gulf of Oman are also carried out under the Navy. This route through the eastern side of the Strait of Hormuz is where 20 percent of all oil trade takes place.
Strait of Hormuz – Iran
Two other naval vessels were also said to have taken part, as said by the Central Command. It was a five-hour seizure before releasing the vessel on Wednesday. Throughout and after the happening, no calls of distress and help were made by the tanker. No reasoning was offered by the US officials on part of Iran doing what it did. Iran whereas did not either acknowledge or offer to reason to the act.
The owner of the vessel is a Liberian Firm by the name of Bandit Shopping Co., which is run by a Greek Firm. As for the moment, neither of them could be reached. Based on the ships’ behavior, Dryad Global a private intelligence firm suspected that two other ships had been harassed as well. Both were stated to be done by Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard in the Persian Gulf, over the span of the last week.
Ties between Iran and the US worsened last year over America’s withdrawal from its 2015 nuclear deal. Since then, vessels on the waters of the Middle East became targets. Iran denied any involvement in the suspected limpet mine attacks but was involved in the seizing of several tankers.
A US oil tanker was commandeered off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in July, said to having smuggled Iranian crude oil. The vessel was later returned to the Iranian side of the water, presenting an image that Iran itself was behind the hijacking.