22 March 2021, 0900UTC
21nm North Mina Saqr
Reporting indicates that a vessel has reported being approached by a small grey boat with 3 persons on board wearing masks.
Vessel and crew reported safe.
Whilst unconfirmed, reports of a 'small grey boat with 3 masked persons onboard' are commensurate with that of Iranian patrol vessels. The reported incident is understood to have occurred 6.3nm SW of a location where Iranian forces boarded and detained the South Korean vessel HANKUK CHEMI on the 4th January 21.
Vessels are advised that the IRGC(N) and Iranian coastguard maintain an aggressive posture throughout both the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman and will on occasion seek to interdict legitimate commercial transits as a show of force within the area. As such it remains a realistic possibility that Iranian forces continue to be operational within the reported incident area.
In the event of merchant vessels being hailed masters should respond with ship’s name, flag state and confirm that they are proceeding in accordance with International Law. If contacted by Iranian authorities, it is recommended that masters contact UKMTO. It is also recommended that merchant shipping maintain transmissions on AIS throughout the region to avoid misidentification and to assist with merchant shipping monitoring.