The Gulf of Oman has been taken over by Iranian forces who have boarded an oil tanker. The Iranian government claims that a tanker carrying crude oil to the United States was involved in a collision with an Iranian vessel. Iran, though, has a history of disrupting regional shipping.
US Navy says that a Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker has been seized in the gulf of Oman by Iran's IRGC. The oil tanker issued distress call during the seizure. pic.twitter.com/71RtdOk7MB— Faytuks News Δ (@Faytuks) April 27, 2023
On April 28, a Sea King helicopter from the Iranian navy swooped down on the 81,000-ton Chinese-flagged petroleum tanker MV Advantage Sweet as it sailed from Kuwait to Houston, Texas. As the ship reached the Gulf of Oman, commandos fast-roped from the helicopter and assumed command, prompting the crew to send a distress signal. The Turkish owners of the ship, Advantage Tankers, claim that the ship is currently being “escorted” to port “on the basis of an international dispute.”
Iran claims that the ship Advantage Sweet collided with an Iranian vessel the night before the boarding, hurting or causing the loss of life of some of the crew members on both vessels. When Iran has a grievance, it has a history of harassing or seizing vessels. The 2018 attack on four tankers in the Gulf of Oman followed President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. So, what might have possibly sparked this new assault?
A vessel carrying stolen Iranian petroleum was intercepted near South Africa at the end of April. As a form of revenge for Iran’s illicit nuclear weapons development, sanctions have been placed on the country’s oil exports, but the Tehran dictatorship routinely defies these limits. The confiscation of Advantage Sweet is consistent with previous Iranian retaliation to its enforcement.
On May 3, a Panamanian tanker was hijacked in the Strait of Hormuz by speedboats from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. It is now being transported to Bandar Abbas harbor. The US Fifth Fleet issued a statement condemning Iran for its violations of international law, but it appears the ayatollahs are not paying attention.