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Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. 

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US: Iran Ships Pose As US Warships To Jam Oil Tankers’ GPS

The U.S. Maritime Administration has issued a fresh warning regarding commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf and the key oil chokepoint the Strait of Hormuz, saying that vessels in the area may encounter GPS interference and “spoofed bridge-to-bridge communications from unknown entities falsely claiming to be U.S. or coalition warships.”

“Vessels operating in the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and Gulf of Oman may also encounter GPS interference, bridge-to-bridge communications spoofing, and/or other communications jamming with little to no warning,” the latest advisory reads.

In at least two of the incidents in the Middle East in the past months, vessels reported GPS interference, according to the U.S. Maritime Administration.

“Vessels have also reported spoofed bridge-to-bridge communications from unknown entities falsely claiming to be U.S. or coalition warships,” the advisory says, advising that U.S.-flagged commercial ships provide plans for when they would be transiting the Strait of Hormuz and immediately inform the U.S. Fifth Fleet Battle Watch if they suspect they are “being hailed from a source falsely claiming to be a U.S. or coalition naval vessel.”

“The United States is committed to safeguarding freedom of navigation, the free flow of commerce, and the protection of U.S. vessels and personnel in this region,” the U.S. Maritime Administration said.

The U.S.—whose President Donald Trump said in June that countries that get their crude oil via the shipping routes in the Middle East should protect their own ships along the lanes—is trying to garner a broad international support for escorting oil tankers in the Gulf after the recent incidents. However, so far only the UK has said it would join the U.S. in protecting tankers after a UK-flagged tanker was seized by Iran last month.

Last month, Khalid al-Falih, the energy minister of the world’s largest crude oil exporter and OPEC’s biggest producer, Saudi Arabia, urged countries buying crude oil to secure the free navigation of tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. 

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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Leave a comment
  • Arch Aelas on August 09 2019 said:
    Equally, could the US have also pretended to be Iranian vessels in recent weeks?
  • Gregory Berchenko on August 09 2019 said:
    Is the US maritime admin sure those are Iranian ships, not American warships jamming commercial ships' GPS so that the US government can blame it on Iran?
  • Andrew Fraser on August 10 2019 said:
    I think Iran has every right to disrupt shipping in its own Persian Gulf. America has enforced sanctions on the country at a time when they were fully committed to the Iran Nuclear Deal, despite attempts by Israel to disrupt it, and forced everyone else to comply. America has made life difficult for Iranian citizens, they deserve a taste of their own medicine. America's obsession with oil control and dominance needs to be neutered.

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