Iran Hijacks Oil Tanker In Gulf Of Oman

Published January 11, 2024

Iranian naval forces, acting under a court order, seized Marshall Islands-flagged tanker “St Nikolas,” Bloomberg reports, citing Iran’s semi-official Tasnim agency reports. The report said St Nikolas is a “US oil tanker.”


Earlier, research firm TankerTrackers said, “Iranians have boarded today in the Gulf of Oman is the ST NIKOLAS.”


Turkish Petroleum Refineries Corp. chartered the tanker, which was transporting 140,00 tons of Iraqi SOMO crude. The vessel was en route to Aliaga in western Turkey.

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The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) authority reported hours ago a vessel was boarded by “4-5 armed unauthorized persons” about 50 miles east of Sohar, Oman.

“Unauthorized boarders are reported to be wearing military-style black uniforms with black masks. CSO reports that the vessel has altered its course towards Iranian territorial waters, and communications with the vessel have been lost,” UKMTO said.

Bloomberg confirmed that the Marshall Islands-flagged tanker “St Nikolas” is the vessel that was hijacked. A previous report says that St Nikolas was seized by the US last year, sailing under a different name, “Suez Rajan,” for transporting unauthorized Iranian cargo.

Empire Navigation, the vessel’s operator, said the tanker was loaded with 145,000 tons of crude from the Iraqi port of Basra and was en route to Aliaga in western Turkey through the Suez Canal. It noted all communication with the vessel had been lost.

St Nikolas’ Automatic Identification System (AIS), a tracking system that uses transceivers on ships to identify and locate vessels, was switched off. The vessel’s last known position was about 50 miles east of Sohar late Wednesday night.


The hijacking incident was near another chokepoint: the Hormuz Strait between Oman and Iran.



RELATED: Iran seizes oil tanker in Gulf of Oman that was recently at center of standoff with U.S.

Published January 11, 2024

Dubai, United Arab Emirates — An oil tanker once at the center of a crisis between Iran and the United States was boarded and seized by Iranian forces in the Gulf of Oman Thursday, Iranian state media said, citing the country’s navy, after reports that “unauthorized” men in military uniforms had boarded the vessel.

Strait of Hormuz, waterway between Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, map
A map shows the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial waterway between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, with Iran to the north and the UAE and Oman exclave Musandam to the south.GETTY/ISTOCKPHOTO

“The Navy of the Islamic Republic of Iran announced the seizure of an American oil tanker in the waters of the Oman Sea with a court order,” Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency, which is affiliated with the country’s powerful Revolutionary Guard force, said in a message posted on its channel on the Telegram social media app. The state-run IRNA news agency also reported the navy’s statement.



RELATED: Iran’s Navy Seizes Oil Tanker in Gulf of Oman That Was at the Center of a Major US-Iran Crisis

Iran’s navy has seized an oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman that once was at the center of a major crisis between Tehran and Washington, a seizure that further escalates tensions in the Mideast waterways

Published January 11, 2024

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran’s navy seized an oil tanker on Thursday in the Gulf of Oman that once was at the center of a major crisis between Tehran and Washington, officials said, a seizure that further escalates tensions in the Mideast waterways.

The vessel was once known as the Suez Rajan and was involved in a yearlong dispute that ultimately saw the U.S. Justice Department seize 1 million barrels of Iranian crude oil on it.

The seizure also comes after weeks of attacks by Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels on shipping in the Red Sea, including their largest barrage ever of drones and missiles launched late Tuesday. That has raised the risk of possible retaliatory strikes by U.S.-led forces now patrolling the vital waterway, especially after a United Nations Security Council vote on Wednesday condemning the Houthis and as American and British officials warned of potential consequences over the attacks.

Iran’s state-run television acknowledged the seizure late Thursday afternoon, hours after armed men boarded it.

“The violating oil tanker Suez Rajan … stole Iranian oil by leading it to the Americans and delivered it to the Americans,” state TV said. It said Iran’s navy, rather than its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, conducted the seizure. Past tense incidents at sea have largely involved the Guard.





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