This week, Iran made an attempt to take control of two oil tankers close to the Strait of Hormuz. It fired shots at one of the boats before the U.S. Navy intervened and forced Iran’s ships to retreat.
According to Ambrey, a maritime intelligence organization, the ship that was attacked flew Bahamian flags yet was Greek-owned and American-managed, the AP said. The ship was sailing from the United Arab Emirates to Singapore. Both oil tankers resumed their journeys after the U.S. reacted to distress calls, according to the Navy, who said that the tanker that was fired upon did not report any injuries or significant damage.
According to Cmdr. Tim Hawkins, spokesperson for the Fifth Fleet of the U.S. Navy, “the Iranian navy attempted to take control of commercial tankers legally crossing international waters,” the AP reported. “The U.S. Navy took prompt action and stopped those seizures.”
Iran took two oil tankers in a single week earlier this year, and according to the Navy, the U.S. adversary has captured at least five tankers in the previous two years. 20% of all crude oil must transit through the Strait of Hormuz, where the majority of the seizures took place. Since Iran’s heightened seizure activity, the Biden administration has expanded ship patrols in the area.
In April, Iran attacked and detained a tanker carrying oil headed for the United States, saying the ship had collided with another Iranian vessel. Iranian commandos were seen seizing possession of the tanker in a video that was broadcast on state television by the nation, which the United States has labeled as a state sponsor of terrorism.
The U.S. captured an Iranian oil tanker in April, and it is shortly anticipated that oil would start to be discharged from it. The Financial Times stated that the ship is currently anchored off the Texas coast. The Iranian ship was impounded after being investigated for allegedly stealing Iranian oil from a different vessel near Singapore that was bound for China.
As tensions between the United States and Iran over Iran’s nuclear program increase, tanker seizures are taking place. According to reports, the Biden administration is seeking to negotiate a “back-door” agreement with Iran after former President Trump terminated the nuclear agreement with that nation. Israeli allies of the United States in the area have cautioned against a deal with Iran, saying it would provide them with money to continue funding terrorism globally and particularly in the Middle East.
“There is no imminent nuclear agreement,” a U.S. State Department official said this past week to Fox News, noting that the administration has “made apparent to Iran that its leaders shouldn’t take measures that would exacerbate tensions and have been pressing Iran to take a de-escalation path.”
The spokesman stated, “We feel diplomacy is the best course of action to ensure Iran never possesses a nuclear weapon, however, as we have stated, we are making preparations for all possible scenarios in full collaboration with our partners and allies.”