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Vessels transiting the Strait of Hormuz in the Middle East are being warned by the U.S. and the UK to steer clear of Iranian waters to avoid possible seizures, the U.S. Navy said this weekend.
“The International Maritime Security Construct is notifying regional mariners of appropriate precautions to minimise the risk of seizure based on current regional tensions, which we seek to de-escalate,” Commander Timothy Hawkins, spokesman for the Bahrain-based U.S. Fifth Fleet, said this weekend, as carried by Reuters.
The UK also issued an advisory about ships in proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil transit chokepoint between Oman and Iran which connects the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman.
UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), part of the navy, said this weekend that it had been made aware of an increased threat within the vicinity of the Strait of Hormuz.
“All vessels transiting are advised to exercise caution and report suspicious activity to UKMTO,” the UK said in its latest advisory.
So far this year, Iran has seized oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, where daily oil flows are equivalent to about 21% of the daily petroleum liquids consumption worldwide.
At the beginning of last month, Iran attempted to seize two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, the U.S. Navy said.
The previous two such incidents took place at the end of April and early May. A commercial oil tanker was seized by Iran on May 3 transiting the Strait of Hormuz.
A previous incident occurred six days earlier 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
Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.