Iran seizes US-bound oil tanker in Gulf after collision with boat

Iranian army says it seized the tanker after it collided with their boat injuring several people on-board

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Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker Advantage Sweet, which, according to Refinitiv ship tracking data, is a Suezmax crude tanker which had been chartered by oil major Chevron and had last docked in Kuwait, sails at Marmara sea near Istanbul, Turkey January 10, 2023. —Reuters
Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker Advantage Sweet, which, according to Refinitiv ship tracking data, is a Suezmax crude tanker which had been chartered by oil major Chevron and had last docked in Kuwait, sails at Marmara sea near Istanbul, Turkey January 10, 2023. —Reuters

Iran captured a Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman in international waters on Thursday, the US Navy said, the latest in a series of episodes or seizures on commercial ships in sensitive Gulf waters since 2019.

Iranian state media reported that Iran's military had held a Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman after it hit an Iranian boat, wounding several crewmen.

An army statement said: "Two members of the boat's crew are missing and several were injured due to the collision of the ship with the boat."

The US Navy specified the ship as the Advantage Sweet which, according to Refinitiv ship tracking data, is a Suezmax crude tanker which had been chartered by oil major Chevron and had last docked in Kuwait.

The ship's tracking data showed that the vessel's destination was listed as the US Gulf of Mexico port of Houston.

Its manager is Genel Denizcilik Nakliyati AS, a Turkey-based company which did not presently reply to a request for a statement.

The Marshall Islands ship registry did not also immediately respond to a request for comment.

The US Navy said: "Iran's continued harassment of vessels and interference with navigational rights in regional waters are a threat to maritime security and the global economy." Adding that Iran has in the past two years unlawfully seized at least five commercial vessels in the Middle East.

The US Navy added that after sending a P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to monitor the situation, "we have since been able to determine the IRIN (Iranian navy) conducted the seizure".

Iranian authorities did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to data from analytics firm Vortexa, about a fifth of the world's crude oil and oil products passes through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow choke point between Iran and Oman which the Advantage Sweet had passed through.