The tanker was allegedly driven into Iranian seas by numerous Iranian warships that approached it in the Strait of Hormuz, according to the US Navy.
Iran's capital city of Tehran With tensions with the United States still high, Iran has once again taken control of an oil ship in the Strait of Hormuz. This is the second such occurrence to occur in the area in the past week.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC’s) naval force stopped a tanker in the congested canal, according to Iranian media and the US 5th Fleet’s Middle East-based sources.
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A dozen fast-attack IRGC warships were seen approaching a tanker that was later identified as the Panama-flagged Niovi in a video that the 5th Fleet made public. According to the US, the ship was "unlawfully seized" and forced to turn around and enter Iranian territorial seas.
The IRGC had indeed captured the ship, the state-run IRNA news agency said, but it did not provide any other information.
The Tehran prosecutor said that the seizure was carried out pursuant to a court order after a plaintiff filed a complaint, according to a report from the Iranian judiciary's Mizan news agency.
Earlier that week, another oil tanker was taken over by the Iranian army’s naval force in Iran, however, claimed that a tanker called Advantage Sweet, managed by Turkey and owned by China, collided with an Iranian ship while on route from Kuwait to Houston, Texas carrying crude oil for US energy company Chevron Corp. Several crew members were reported missing and others were hurt.
The Advantage Sweet, which had approximately a dozen Indian crew members, was allegedly moving through the Strait of Hormuz when it allegedly departed the scene despite numerous warnings, according to Iran.
Western media, however, stated that the vessel's detention was a reaction to the US seizing an oil tanker a few days before in an effort to impose unilateral sanctions on Tehran.
Such tit-for-tat manoeuvres between Tehran and Washington are nothing new; last year, the US attempted to take an oil shipment from Iran near Greece, which prompted Iran to detain two Greek ships and imprison them for months. Finally, Greece's supreme court issued an order for the cargo to be sent back to Iran and freed the Greek ships as well.
Since unilaterally pulling out of a nuclear agreement with other world powers in 2015 that limitedthe US has imposed the toughest sanctions it has ever imposed on Iran. This has happened in 2018.
In what Tehran described as a “strategic victory” in the area amid ongoing tensions in the Middle East, the capture on Wednesday occurred as Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi arrived in Damascus for a two-day visit and visited Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.