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US Navy says Iran seized Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker in Gulf of Oman

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Iran has seized a Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman while it was in transit in international waters, the United States Navy said on Thursday.


"The oil tanker issued a distress call during the seizure," the US 5th Fleet tweeted, adding that it was monitoring the situation.

Initial assessment indicates that the vessel is the M/T ADVANTAGE SWEET IMO 9587192. The vessel was inbound Houston Texas having loaded at Mina Saud. The current situation regarding the vessel remains unclear however it is understood that the vessel was boarded by Iranian forces. 

IRGC harassing activity within the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman is commensurate with an established pattern of behavior that has seen Iran target vessels as a result of ongoing disputes. This has previously been seen with the Iranian detention of both the STENA IMPERO (UK) and HANKUK CHEMI (South Korea) the former in retaliation for the detention of the Grace 1 and the later the result of South Korea freezing assets and funds related to Iran. Whilst Iran has yet to make a statement regarding the incident, it remains a realistic possibility that the vessel was either boarded as a show of force in response to the first transit of a US unmanned vessel through the Strait of Hormuz or the recent sanctioning by the US Dept of Treasury of four senior officers of Iranian Law enforcement connected to the IRGC.