Iran ’hijacks’ oil tanker off Oman amid growing middle-east crisis, dubs it ’retaliation for US oil theft’ | 10 points

The seized tanker was involved in a yearlong dispute between Iran and the US and was once known as the Suez Rajan.

Livemint
Updated11 Jan 2024, 11:45 PM IST
Iran Navy on Thursday seized oil tanker in Gulf of Oman that was at the center of a major US-Iran crisis
Iran Navy on Thursday seized oil tanker in Gulf of Oman that was at the center of a major US-Iran crisis(REUTERS)

Raising concerns about more attacks on ships in the Middle East, Iran hijacked an oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday. Oil tanker, earlier known as, the Suez Rajan, was once at the center of a major crisis between Tehran and Washington.

Top 10 updates

-According to the initial reports, four to five people wearing black masks went aboard on Thursday. Within minutes, the ship and communication with the tanker were lost, reported Bloomberg referring to the UK Maritime Trade Operations. 

-It had loaded a crude cargo at the Iraqi port of Basrah and was heading to Turkey via the Suez Canal, the owner of Empire Navigation said. 

- Later in the day, Iran's state-run television acknowledged the seizure. The television coverage said that the seizure, also reported as ‘hijack’ was done by Iran's navy, rather than its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard.  “The violating oil tanker Suez Rajan ... stole Iranian oil by leading it to the Americans and delivered it to the Americans,” AP quoted Iranian state TV.  

-A Financial Times report hinted that the incident is likely to raise concerns about the escalation of such attacks on shipping in the Strait of Hormuz. Global oil prices surged after the incident. On Thursday, the Brent crude was up almost 2 per cent.

-After the theft of Iranian oil by the United States last year, St Nikolas tanker was seized by Iran's Navy this morning with a judicial order, it is en route to Iranian ports," Reuters quoted the semi-official Fars news agency. The local news agency had cited a statement by the Navy.

-The seized vessel, St Nikolas, was earlier known as the Suez Rajan and was involved in a yearlong dispute that ultimately saw the U.S. Justice Department seize 1 million barrels of Iranian crude oil on it.

-The seized ship was loaded with around 145,000 metric tonnes of oil in the Iraqi port of Basra. It was heading to Aliaga in western Turkey via the Suez Canal, Empire Navigation told Reuters, adding that it had lost contact with the vessel.

-The seizure also comes after weeks of attacks by Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels on shipping in the Red Sea, including their largest barrage ever of drones and missiles launched late Tuesday. 

-The attacks by Houthi rebels have raised the risk of possible retaliatory strikes by U.S.-led forces now patrolling the vital waterway, especially after a United Nations Security Council vote on Wednesday condemning the Houthis and as American and British officials warned of potential consequences over the attacks.

-Since October, Yemen's Housthis have attacked commercial vessels in the Red Sea to show support for Palestinian millitant group Hamas. However, the attacks on ships were made regardless their ties with Israel.

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First Published:11 Jan 2024, 11:45 PM IST
HomeNewsWorldIran ’hijacks’ oil tanker off Oman amid growing middle-east crisis, dubs it ’retaliation for US oil theft’ | 10 points

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