A commercial oil tanker was seized by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz on Wednesday in the second such merchant vessel seizure by the Islamic Republic in waters in the Arabian Gulf in less than a week.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) seized early on Wednesday local time the Panama-flagged oil tanker Niovi, the U.S. Navy said today.
The tanker was seized while transiting the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil transit chokepoint between Oman and Iran that connects the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman. The daily oil flows through the Strait of Hormuz are equivalent of about 21% of the daily petroleum liquids consumption worldwide.
The oil tanker Niovi had departed Dubai and was transiting from the Arabian Gulf toward the port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) when a dozen IRGCN fast-attack craft swarmed the vessel in the middle of the strait.
“The IRGCN subsequently forced the oil tanker to reverse course and head toward Iranian territorial waters off the coast of Bandar ‘Abbas, Iran,” the U.S. Navy said in a statement on the latest incident with commercial vessel seizures by Iran near the Strait of Hormuz.
“Iran’s actions are contrary to international law and disruptive to regional security and stability. Over the past two years, Iran has harassed, attacked or interfered with the navigational rights of 15 internationally flagged merchant vessels,” said the Fifth Fleet of the U.S. Navy based in Bahrain.
This is the second such incident in a week. A previous incident occurred six days ago when the Iranian Navy seized Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker Advantage Sweet while it transited international waters in the Gulf of Oman. The oil tanker had departed the Mina Saud Port in Kuwait and was destined for Houston, Texas, after being commissioned by U.S. oil giant Chevron.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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