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Iran’s navy captures Greek tanker

Caption: 190301-N-OW019-1271 The US destroyer "USS Chung-Hoo" guides a cargo ship through the Red Sea (© Archivbild US Navy)

Tensions are rising in the Middle East. Iran’s navy has detained an oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman. It is allegedly stolen oil.

The tanker “St. Nikolas” was seized on the instructions of the judiciary, reported the state news agency Irna. The allegation: Iranian oil had been stolen. According to the British security company Ambrey, the AIS was switched off. The ship was traveling at high speed in the direction of the Iranian port of Bandar e-Jask. [ds_preview]

The gunmen, who boarded the ship around 50 nm east of the Omani port city of Sohar, were reportedly wearing black military uniforms and black masks. The “St. Nikolas” was already in the spotlight last year when the then “Suez Rajan” was detained following allegations of violations of sanctions.

Shipping company confirms capture by Iran’s navy

The USA is demanding the immediate release of the detained oil tanker. There have been repeated incidents involving oil tankers in the past. In particular, the Strait of Hormuz, the approximately 55 km wide strait between Iran and Oman, is considered one of the most important shipping routes for global oil exports.

The Greek shipping company Empire Navigation in Athens confirmed the capture of the tanker flying the flag of the Marshall Islands to the German Press Agency. A crew of 19 was on board, including 18 seamen from the Philippines and one Greek. The ship had previously picked up oil in Basra, Iraq, and was on its way to the Suez Canal and then on to the Turkish port city of Aliaga, it said.

Since the outbreak of the Gaza war at the beginning of October, tensions in the region have also increased significantly on the sea routes. In particular, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are allied with Iran, have repeatedly attacked tankers on their way to Israel in recent weeks. Major shipping companies are increasingly avoiding the Red Sea route, the shortest sea route between Asia and Europe.

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