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UK warns of unknown approach to oil tanker in Gulf of Oman

UK warns of unknown approach to oil tanker in Gulf of Oman

The British military “received a report that the ship had been boarded by unauthorized persons at approximately 03:30 (Lisbon time)”.

“No contact has been made with the vessel at this time,” a UK naval source said, adding that Omani authorities were investigating.

So far, Oman has not responded to this information and no further action has been requested.

According to the Associated Press, United Kingdom Maritime Operations, a British military organization that provides warnings and information to sailors in the Middle East, said the incident began in the early hours of the morning in an area where ships were in the waters between Oman and Iran. To cross the Strait of Hormuz.

About one-fifth of all traded oil passes through the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf.

The British military organization indicated that it had received a report from the man in charge of the ship's security, according to which he had heard “unknown voices on the telephone”.

The British military added that attempts to contact the ship were unsuccessful.

On the other hand, Ambre, a private maritime information firm, said “six military personnel” (unidentified) boarded the vessel, which was identified as the oil tanker St. Nicholas.

According to the agency, the men hid surveillance cameras when they boarded the ship.

St Nicholas is associated with the Greek shipping company Empire Navigation.

The Athens-based company declined to comment.

In September last year, Empire Navigation pleaded guilty to smuggling sanctioned Iranian crude oil and agreed to pay a $2.4 million fine in a case involving the tanker Suez Rajan, which was carrying one million barrels of oil.

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The US Navy, which patrols the Middle East, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the alleged approach.

The incident is similar to last week when India had to come to the rescue of a Liberian-flagged ship that was diverted in Somali waters.

Both Yemen's Shia Houthi rebels and Somali pirates have stepped up attacks on ships in the Red Sea and off Somalia in recent months.