'Potential hijack' of ship off UAE coast has ended, says UK maritime security agency

WION Web Team
LondonUpdated: Aug 04, 2021, 01:13 PM IST


Story highlights

The latest incident comes just days after the blast on MT Mercer Street tanker, which Israel and the US blamed on an Iran drone strike.

Britain's maritime security agency on Wednesday said the "potential hijack" of the ship off UAE's coast has ended just days after an attack on an Israeli-managed tanker off the Omani coast.

US State Department had said it was looking into reports of a maritime incident in the Gulf of Oman as Britain's foreign ministry said it was "urgently investigating" the incident.

The incident is linked to the Panama-flagged tanker Asphalt Princess in UAE’s Fujairah area in the Gulf of Oman.


The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) had earlier warned ships to exercise extreme caution due to an incident approximately 60 nautical miles east of Fujairah.

Meanwhile, Reuters quoting three maritime security sources reported Iran-backed forces were believed to be behind the incident. However, Iran dismissed the claims, with the foreign ministry saying: "Reported 'incidents' in the Persian Gulf and broader region appear utterly suspicious".

"Reaffirming our strong commitment to regional stability and maritime security, Iran stands ready to offer assistance in case of any maritime accidents," foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said.

The tanker was reportedly travelling to Sohar, a port in Oman. UKMTO categorised it as a "potential hijack".

The development comes amid the row over MT Mercer Street tanker blast in which two crew members belonging to Britain and Romania were killed.

Israel and the US blamed the attack on the Iranian drone. The vessel was owned by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer. The US and Britain said they will work with allies to work towards an appropriate response even as Iran denied any involvement in the suspected drone strike.

(With inputs from Agencies)