Gunmen are said to have hijacked a tanker in the Gulf of Oman on one of the main sea routes for international trade. The kidnapping has now apparently ended.
Fujairah (dpa) – Less than 24 hours after the start of a suspected ship hijacking in the Gulf of Oman, the situation there appears to have eased again.
Gunmen are said to have hijacked the Panamanian-flagged tanker “Asphalt Princess” on Tuesday. These have since left the ship, the British maritime warning center UKMTO said on Wednesday. “The ship is safe. The incident is over,” he said.
Lloyd’s List, which specializes in maritime security, announced that the ship was en route to Oman. It was previously said that the alleged hijackers had sent the ship to Iran. There was initially no official confirmation of the kidnapping or what exactly had happened.
British headquarters UKMTO had warned ships in the region of a possible hijacking on Tuesday. Gunmen had seized the 135-meter tanker about 60 nautical miles east of the emirate of Fujairah, according to the British Times. The government in London assumes that Iran or allied militias are responsible. The British Foreign Office said it was “urgently investigating an incident on a ship off the coast of the United Arab Emirates”.
Iran’s foreign ministry warned against unfounded allegations. “These ongoing incidents involving the ships in the Persian Gulf are extremely questionable and suspicious,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Said Chatibsadeh, according to Isna news agency.
The Gulf of Oman is located between Oman and Iran. Ships enter the Persian Gulf through the Gulf of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz. The route is considered one of the most important sea links for international trade. The situation in the region is particularly tense for shipping. The last time a Briton and the Romanian captain were killed in a drone attack on the oil tanker “Mercer Street” was less than a week ago.