Panamanian-Flagged Tanker Reported “Hijacked” By Iranian Forces Off UAE Coast

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    Panamanian-Flagged Tanker Reported “Hijacked” By Iranian Forces Off UAE Coast (update-12:50PM eastern): A flurry of bizarre and unconfirmed reports are coming out of the Gulf waters where one or more foreign vessels are believed seized by the Iranians, however, which Tehran is denying, calling the reports “suspicious”. Britain’s Sky News reports: A group of eight or nine armed individuals are believed to have boarded the vessel, named Asphalt Princess, the security source told Sky News. “It was an unauthorised boarding in the Gulf of Oman,” the security source said. There is no British link to the tanker. It comes as the Associated Press reported that at least four vessels sent out warnings saying they had lost control of their steering. And then there’s this hugely alarming unconfirmed report circulating… Was the archduke on board? https://t.co/EQgjnnbus0 — zerohedge (@zerohedge) August 3, 2021 * * * (update-12:38PM eastern): While there are still many unknowns about the developing distressed tanker incident in the Persian Gulf off the UAE coast, including whether the incident has impacted one or possibly up to a few tankers, reports are now pointing to a hijacking in progress likely by Iranian forces. Journalist and defense editor for the UK Times Larisa Brown is citing British government sources to say the Panamanian-flagged Asphalt Princess has been boarded by hostile entities. British sources believe Asphalt Princess has been hijacked. They are working on the assumption Iranian military or proxies have boarded vessel https://t.co/2eETCX9i74 — Larisa Brown (@larisamlbrown) August 3, 2021 ‘A security source for Sky News: There is a possibility that a team of 8 or 9 armed men hijacked the Asphalt Princess.’ “It was an unauthorised boarding in the #GulfOfOman,” the security source said.” https://t.co/7sfQz2iyio — World Citizen (@WorldCitizenLA) August 3, 2021 The vessel now appears to be moving, according to real-time tracking data, viewable here. Incoming reports that the oil tanker ASPHALT PRINCESS has been boarded and seized by Iranian forces. pic.twitter.com/0gTwGGSeC0 — Atlas News (@Atlas_News_) August 3, 2021 Earlier speculation abounded over reports that the nearby Golden Brilliant may be under distress as well, possibly in a mine attack incident. First Golden Brilliant now Asphalt Princess. https://t.co/ZeAQkTqOdm — Dan Graeber (@dan_graeber) August 3, 2021 * * * (update-11:22AM eastern): Statements from Iranian state sources are saying a foreign tanker has struck a mine in the Persian Gulf. While few details are as yet known or confirmed, international maritime aerial patrols are said to be en route to observe the vessel or vessels directly, possibly including US aircraft in the region. And who planted the naval mine? https://t.co/YvMxAAX6uR — Jason Brodsky (@JasonMBrodsky) August 3, 2021 However, these early reports out of Iran remain unconfirmed, but seem to point to another major security incident unfolding after last Thursday’s deadly drone attack on the Israeli-managed Mercer Street tanker. One of the potentially distressed tankers is Singaporean flagged ‘Golden Brilliant’ chemical ship. Interestingly, it’s managed by “the same company that managed the Andrea Victory, which Iran attacked with a limpet mine in May 2019,” according to one observer. Iranian Fars Agency: A mine exploded in a tanker in international waters in the Gulf of Oman https://t.co/cHNUuRYZsT — OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) August 3, 2021 Omani observer aircraft are said to now be over waters where one or more vessels may be disabled. #BreakingNews Unconfirmed reports involving the vessel ASPHALT PRINCESS off Fujairah. We know: 👉 incident reported ongoing by UKMTO location 24 59.5N 057 28.6E 👉 incident reported 1230UTC 👉 Omani Royal Air Force C-295 maritime patrol aircraft currently over reported location — Dryad Global (@GlobalDryad) August 3, 2021 If the mystery incident is confirmed to have been a mine attack, expect the US military to be en route… This MH-53E is equipped to clear mines pic.twitter.com/68pvfQI6fV — OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) August 3, 2021 * * * The UK has ordered ships to exercise extreme caution in Persian Gulf waters off UAE’s coast as an unknown incident is unfolding, though few details have initially been given. A non-piracy incident is currently underway east of Fujairah, with “investigations ongoing,” an urgent alert from the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) indicates. “The warning notice, based on a third party source, advised vessels in the area to exercise extreme caution,” Reuters writes of the developing notification. Warning 001/Aug/2021 Category: Incident – Non Piracy Description: An Incident is currently underway in position 2459.5N 05728.6E (Approx. 61 NM East of Fujairah) Investigations ongoing.https://t.co/HAOeC8qZAJ#MaritimeSecurity #MarSec pic.twitter.com/lah2vXIFWu — United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) (@UK_MTO) August 3, 2021 It’s as yet unclear which vessel may be involved in a potential distressed situation, but open source maritime tracking information suggests at least one vessel has been deemed “not under command”.  In technical terms this simply means means that a vessel is unable to maneuver at this time. Oil tanker Golden Brilliant currently “not under command” in the Gulf of Oman pic.twitter.com/pt4J0CKr4r — ELINT News (@ELINTNews) August 3, 2021 Reuters reports the following:  The Maersk Messina (Singapore flag), Asphalt Princess (Panama flag), and an unnamed tanker are in the area, according to MarineTraffic. The Front Crown and Golden Brilliant, both located nearby are listed as “Not Under Command”, meaning that through some exceptional circumstance, they are unable to maneuver and are therefore unable to keep out of the way of another vessel. The region is on edge following last week’s drone attack on an Israeli-linked oil tanker off Oman which left two international crew members dead. Israel and the US have warned they are preparing ‘action’ against Iran, which they blamed for the incident. Royal Omani Air Force C-295 maritime patrol aircraft for SAR on the way to the incident area in the Gulf of Oman now pic.twitter.com/3DZEHAY39t — ELINT News (@ELINTNews) August 3, 2021 Iran for its part has said it will respond with a “strong and crushing” military response to any provocations. While the developing incident in the Gulf could simply be a vessel temporarily experiencing technical difficulties, there are fears of a new incident related to the renewed Iran and Israel ‘shadow war’ in the region. Current situation: No one knows what the heck is happening. UKMTO issued a “non piracy” related warning. Some British connected tankers have taken odd tracks. Apart from that, we have very little. — OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) August 3, 2021 Iranian state media is reporting this, however: Iranian Fars Agency: A mine exploded in a tanker in international waters in the Gulf of Oman https://t.co/cHNUuRYZsT — OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) August 3, 2021 developing… Tyler Durden Tue, 08/03/2021 – 12:38

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