The Asphalt Princess is a Panamanian-flagged oil tanker owned by the UAE that was transitioning through the Gulf of Oman off the coast of Oman/UAE. When 5 or 6 Iranian hijackers stormed the ship on Tuesday, the crew sabotaged the ship so that it couldn’t move. The armed Iranians fled as US 5th fleet and Omani warships arrived. There is something to be said about a crew that is prepared in time of crisis.
The Iranian gunmen reportedly attempted to divert the ship to the Islamic Republic of Iran. The British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations labelled the incident a “potential hijack.” The hijack boarding took place not far from the
strategically important Strait of Hormuz, which is the conduit for approximately 20% of the world’s sea-borne oil exports.take our poll - story continues below
This does not appear to be an isolated event. On Tuesday afternoon, some five ships in the waters between Iran and the United Arab Emirates updated their AIS tracking status to “Not Under Command.” This status means that the ship is not able to move independently due to extreme circumstances…
The Oman Maritime Security Centre confirmed in a statement that it had received intelligence about Asphalt Princess being subjected “to a hijacking incident in international waters in the Gulf of Oman.”
The Omani maritime authorities added, “The Royal Air Force of Oman is carrying out sorties near the area, and the Royal Navy of Oman deployed several ships to help secure international waters in the region.”
The crew radioed the Emirati Coast Guard and advised them that five or six armed Iranians had boarded the Asphalt Princess.
“Iranian people are onboard with ammunition. We are… now, drifting. We cannot tell you exact our ETA to (get to) Sohar,”
Asphalt Princess crew member
As usual, Iran denied that they had anything to do with it, and called it “suspicious” which means in Iran-talk that they blame the west. Fortunately, the crew was not harmed.
Apparently responding to the incident, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh on Tuesday denied that Iran played any role. He described the recent maritime attacks in the Persian Gulf as “completely suspicious.”
Over the past years, the rising tensions have played out in the waters of the Persian Gulf, where just last week a drone attack on an oil tanker linked to an Israeli billionaire off the coast of Oman killed two crew members. The West blamed Iran for the raid, which marked the first known fatal assault in the years-long shadow war targeting vessels in Mideast waters. Iran denied involvement…
In the recorded radio traffic, when the Emirati coast guard asks the crew member what the Iranian gunmen were doing onboard, he says he “cannot understand the [Iranians],” his voice muffled, before trying to hand over the radio to someone else. The call then cuts off.
Possible signs of trouble began to emerge that evening when six oil tankers off the coast of Fujairah announced around the same time via their Automatic Identification System trackers that they were “not under command,” according to MarineTraffic.com. That typically means a vessel has lost power and can no longer steer.
Satellite-tracking data for the Asphalt Princess had showed it gradually heading toward Iranian waters off the port of Jask early Wednesday, according to MarineTraffic.com. Hours later, however, it stopped and changed course toward Oman, just before the British navy group declared the hijackers had departed and the vessel was now “safe.”
Translation: the Asphalt Princess crew sabotaged the engines, the hijackers couldn’t figure out how to make it go again, the cavalry was coming, so they left.
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