The MV Asphalt Princess, the tanker that was hijacked by nine gunmen, has been abandoned off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said in a statement on Wednesday. The tanker has been picked up in the Gulf of Oman and is said to be heading for the congested Strait of Hormuz.
“Iranians on board,” said the voice of an intercepted crew member.
Naval officers decoded interceptions of the asphalt vessel that allegedly declared nine gunmen who attacked the tanker to be Iranians, the UK Navy AP has informed. The air traffic tapes were shared with AP, who revealed that crew members told the Emirate’s coast guard in a “muffled voice” that the “five or six armed Iranians had boarded the aircraft. tanker “. Additionally, the radio chat also revealed that the Panamanian-flagged tanker Asphalt was drifting towards Sohar. “We are … now adrift. We cannot tell you the estimated time of arrival for (arrive at) Sohar,” two other crew members, identified as Indians and Indonesians, said on the radio. . Take a look at where the ship was hijacked:
UKMTO says “ship is safe”
UK Maritime Operations have also reached out to Twitter to update the status of the “potential hijack”. On August 1, the UKMTO alerted the naval fleet along the Gulf of the potential hijacking. The operators updated the contact details and indicated that “the incident is in progress”. The incident has heightened fears of “suspicious” maritime activity in Middle Eastern waters. Take a look at where it was marked as safe:
The Asphalt Princess Attack under the Panama flag
According to reports, the attackers boarded the Asphalt Princess as it sailed along the coast of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. The Oman army has received reports of a potential hijacking, the PA said, and has deployed maritime patrol planes and Royal Air Force ships to “help secure international waters” . At the same time, according to MarineTraffic.com, six other tankers off Fujairah announced the failure of their automatic identification system. Meanwhile, the Asphalt Princess showed a gradual drift into Iranian waters from the port of Jask. A few hours later, the drift stopped and the vessel changed course towards Oman. This led the British Navy to declare the ship “safe”.
Tension is mounting in the waters of the Middle East; Iran denies any involvement
The UK, US and Israel blamed Iran for the attack after no organization took responsibility for the brief hijacking incident. Responding to the allegations, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh on Tuesday denied that Iran played a role in the attack. He also called the recent maritime attacks in the Persian Gulf “completely suspect”.
Meanwhile, tension continued to build in Middle Eastern waters after a drone attack was launched on the commercial vessel in the Arabian Sea, MV Mercer Street on July 29. The incident shook the naval units based in the region. The United States, United Kingdom and Israel strongly condemned the attack. The fatal strike killed a British and Romanian national on board. Presumably, the description came right after a framed nuclear deal with Iran. The official religion of the British Navy that the attack was launched by Tehran, however, no group has yet claimed responsibility for the strike.
(With access point entries) (Image: IMAGE: Unsplash / representative)