Dubai: The United States said on Wednesday that it suspects that Iran was involved in the alleged hijacking of a ship in the Gulf of Oman because it vowed to cooperate with the United Kingdom in response to the fatal attack it attributed to Tehran earlier.
Oman stated that the Asphalt Princess is an asphalt and asphalt tanker that participated in the “hijacking incident in international waters” and deployed aircraft and naval vessels.
The United States and the United Kingdom stated that the gloomy incident in the Gulf of Oman ended a day later, and that the hijackers allegedly left the Panamanian flag ship.
“We believe that these personnel were Iranian, but we re not in a position to confirm this at this time,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters in Washington.
“Iran has undertaken a pattern of belligerence in terms of proxy attacks in the region and of course, these maritime attacks,” Price said, while adding that circumstances in the latest incident were “still emerging”.
Since February, Iran and its arch-enemy Israel have been accused of engaging in a “shadow war”, in which vessels linked to each nation have come under attack in waters around the Gulf in tit-for-tat exchanges.
The United States and Israel claimed that Iran conducted a drone attack on the MT Mercer Street tanker linked to Israel on July 29 near Oman, killing two people, but Tehran denied these allegations and requested evidence.
Oman, which has relatively friendly relations with Iran, said in a statement from the Ministry of Defense that its air force had launched an attack near the Asphalt Princess, and the navy deployed a number of ships to ensure water safety.
“The boarder has left the ship. The ship is safe. The incident has been completed,” the British Maritime Trade Department wrote on Twitter.
It said that the “potential hijacking” of the ship took place 60 miles east of the Emirate of Fujairah in the UAE when it was sailing towards the Strait of Hormuz, one of the busiest waterways in the world.
The shipping industry intelligence website Lloyd’s List reported that armed men boarded the Asphalt Princess and ordered it to sail to Iran.
Said Khatibzad, a spokesman for the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on Tuesday that “the incidents reported in the Persian Gulf and the wider region appear to be completely suspicious.”
“Reaffirming our firm commitment to regional stability and maritime security, Iran stands ready to provide assistance in the event of any maritime accident,” Khatibzadeh added.