A potential vessel hijack in coasts of UAE and the confusion over it ended following an announcement by the British UKMTO. However, the nature of the incident is still in haze.
The crew in a vessel in UAE coasts left the board following days of concerns regarding a potential vessel hijack. Based on British maritime agency announcement, the condition is under control and the vessel is in Fujairah in the Gulf of Oman.
This is while no further details about the incident have been provided by British and Emirati officials. The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations only sufficed to a Twitter post. UKMTO announced that the vessel was “safe” and the “incident complete.”
The UKMTO issued a notice alert on Tuesday in which it advised ships to exert extra precautions. The notice cited an unknown source based on which an incident occurred 60 miles east of Fujairah.
Various related institutes confirmed that the vessel was asphalt tanker Asphalt Princess under Panama flag. Glory International, a company in the UAE free zone, owns the vessel. Glory International made no remarks on the incident further complicating the vessel hijack.
The Strait of Hormuz, which carries roughly 20% of the world’s maritime oil sales, is in the Gulf of Oman. The Emirati Fujairah is a port city in the region where ships may load new oil freight, replenish supplies, or swap crews.
MarineTraffic.com data says that at least 5 ships in the waters between the Iran and United Arab Emirates altered their AIS tracking status to “Not Under Command” in Tuesday. A ship with this state is typically unable to maneuver owing to unforeseen condition.
The potential relationship between the report on five ship and a potential hijack of Asphalt Princess is not clear. There is no further detail over these ships either.
A Vessel Hijack Unclaimed
Following days of confusion about the nature of the incident, UKMTO finally announced that the vessel hijack is over. The media coverage of the incident was more suspicious than the incident.
The investigative western media sufficed to reports based on vague remarks of middle-rank military officials. The theory of vessel hijack should have hit the deadlines while no such response has been observed.
Iran has been at the center of accusations for the hijack. British and Emirati officials believe that forces working as proxy for Iran are behind the incident.
Iranian official at the foreign ministry highly rejected any connection to such incidents. An Iranian official at the foreign ministry described the attacks as “completely suspicious.”
Khatibzadeh’s reference was to the ambiguity about the details of an incident over which the conspiracies outnumber the facts and documents. Iranians also expressed readiness to provide assistance for any sort of rescue operations.
The alleged vessel hijack occurs amid the rising tensions between Iran and western powers. The two sides have been involved in clashes regarding Iran’s nuclear program following US withdrawal from JCPOA.
Besides, the Persian Gulf region has been pregnant with concerning security developments in recent weeks. In a recent example, drone attack on an oil tanker off the coasts of Oman claimed two lives last week. Israeli Zodiac Maritime managed the tanker that sailed under the flag of Liberia.
Like most other similar cases, Iran was at the center of accusations with no details or documents. Iran and Israel have recurrently accused each other for regional incidents and attacks over the past months.
The vessel hijack in Gulf of Oman ended while nothing about the quality of the incidents and the parties is clear. To make it worse, the hijack itself is still under question.
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