OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 8:09 AM – Wednesday, May 3, 2023
Iran has seized a second oil tanker within a week on Wednesday the United States Navy said.
According to the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) have seized the Panama-flagged oil tanker Niovi while it was passing through the Strait of Hormuz.
The oil tanker had been traveling from Dubai to the United Arab Emirates’ Fujairah port when it was taken over by approximately 12 members of the IRGCN and forced to change course and head towards Iranian territorial waters.
The tanker had last reported its position at 2:31 A.M. GMT on Wednesday near the coast of Oman.
International Maritime Organization shipping database showed that the Niovi is owned by Grand Financing Company, and the vessel is managed by Greece-based Smart Tankers.
According to the judiciary’s Mizan news agency, the Tehran prosecutor’s office said that a judge had ordered the vessel to be impounded due to an unspecified complaint. No additional details were given.
The incident comes days after the IRGCN had also seized the Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker, the Advantage Sweet.
On Thursday April 27th, the IRGCN had seized the Advantage Sweet in the Gulf of Oman after it had departed Kuwait on its way to Houston. Video of the incident showed Iranian forces approaching the oil tanker via helicopter and rappelling onboard as it travels through the Gulf of Oman.
According to the Marshall Islands flag registry, the Advantage Sweet is now being held by Iranian authorities in Bandar Abbas.
The seizure of the two oil tankers comes after the disappearance of the Marshall Island-flagged Suez Rajan, which had been in the South China Sea for over a year after a report had said it was allegedly smuggling sanctioned Iranian crude oil.
According to The Financial Times and the maritime intelligence firm Ambrey, the Suez Rajan had been seized by U.S. Authorities. However, U.S. officials have made no comment regarding to the vessel.
This is a developing story.
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