The US Navy’s Mideast-based 5th fleet vessel that is identified by the name Advantage Sweet was seized by Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard.
The Marshall Island-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman was seized by Iran, said the US Navy, this is amid wider tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program.
Satellite tracking data showed Sweet in the Gulf of Oman just north of Oman’s capital, Muscat, on Thursday afternoon. It had just travelled from Kuwait and listed its destination as Houston, Texas.
The 5th fleet, which Advantage Sweet belonged too, said that it was at least the fifth commercial vessel taken by Tehran in the last two years.
“Iran’s continued harassment of vessels and interference with navigational rights in regional waters are a threat to maritime security and the global economy,” it added.
At 1:15 p.m. a distress call was issued by the vessel as it was being seized by Tehran said the Navy.
“Iran’s actions are contrary to international law and disruptive to regional security and stability,” the 5th Fleet said in a statement. “Iran should immediately release the oil tanker.
These incidents began after then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the States from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, which then saw Tehran drastically limit its enrichment of Uranium in exchange for lifting economic sanctions.