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Iran tried to capture 2 oil tankers, fired on one, US Navy says

Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS The Sullivans. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Damian Berg/Released)
July 05, 2023

The U.S. Navy said Iran attempted to seize two oil tankers located by the Strait of Hormuz early Wednesday morning.

According to The Associated Press, Iran’s naval ships backed off once the Navy responded to Iran’s attempt to seize the oil tankers.

Both commercial ships were able to continue their voyages once the Navy responded to the incident.

“The Iranian navy did make attempts to seize commercial tankers lawfully transiting international waters,” said Cmdr. Tim Hawkins, spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet. “The U.S. Navy responded immediately and prevented those seizures.”

Hawkins added that gunfire from one of Iran’s naval ships did not result in any casualties or significant damage to the commercial vessel.

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According to Ambrey, a maritime intelligence service, the oil tanker that Iranian ships fired at was Greek-owned, U.S. managed and Bahamas-flagged.

The crude oil tanker was traveling from the United Arab Emirates to Singapore when the attempted seizure occurred. The shots were fired 28 nautical miles from Muscat, Oman.

The U.S. Navy indicated that Iran has seized at least five commercial ships over the past two years, in addition to harassing multiple other commercial vessels.

According to Bloomberg, Iran has seized at least three oil tankers in the same waterway just this year, as the Strait of Hormuz provides a crucial transportation route for oil experts located in the Persian Gulf.

Iran has cited forged leasing documents and judicial complaints as the reasoning behind its seizure of commercial ships.

According to The Associated Press, Iranian navy commandos engaged in an April helicopter raid, seizing an oil tanker traveling to the United States in the Gulf of Oman.

At the time, the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet responded to the incident, warning of Iran’s continued harassment of commercial vessels.

“Iran’s continued harassment of vessels and interference with navigational rights in regional waters are a threat to maritime security and the global economy,” the 5th Fleet said.

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.