Iran Seizes Oil Tanker Headed for Texas: US Navy

Iran Seizes Oil Tanker Headed for Texas: US Navy
An oil tanker seized by Iranian naval forces at the Gulf port of Bandar Abbas in southern Iran, on Oct. 31, 2022. (IRNA/AFP via Getty Images)
Jackson Richman

Iran seized an oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman that was headed for Texas on April 27, according to the U.S. Navy.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) took over the Marshall Islands-flagged tanker, called the Advantage Sweet, which issued a distress signal, according to the Navy’s Fifth Fleet. The IRGCN seized the tanker in international waters by boarding the ship via helicopter.

“Iran’s actions are contrary to international law and disruptive to regional security and stability,” the Fifth Fleet said in a statement. “The Iranian government should immediately release the oil tanker.”

The tanker is an 11-year-old commercial vessel owned by Turkey-based Genel Denizcilik Nakliyati AS.

The Fifth Fleet noted that the seizure is part of a pattern of behavior by Tehran.

“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 stated. “In the past two years, Iran has unlawfully seized at least five commercial vessels sailing in the Middle East.”

In May 2022, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, designated a terrorist group by the United States, seized two Greek tankers in the Persian Gulf. Iran released the tankers in November.

In July 2019, Iran seized two British-linked tankers, the Stena Impero and the Liberian-flagged MV Mesdar in the Strait of Hormuz. The Stena Impero was released in September 2019.

Earlier this month, the United States sent a submarine, the USS Florida, to the Middle East amid tensions between Iran and Israel.

“Recent events, including the strikes in Syria and public threats made by Iran against merchant vessels, prompted us to remind regional mariners to remain vigilant,” Fifth Fleet Cmdr. Timothy Hawkins said.

The United States has sought to reenter the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, colloquially known as the Iran nuclear deal, but has been unable to reach agreement with Iran. Negotiations have been suspended since 2022 because of Russian demands. Additionally, Iran has come under fire for allegedly supplying drones to Russia to use in its invasion of Ukraine.

Over the past couple of weeks, the United States has enacted punishments against Iran.

On April 24, the U.S. State Department imposed visa restrictions on 11 Iranian officials for allegedly being connected with human rights abuses in Iran. The U.S. Treasury Department enacted sanctions on five Iranian officials for alleged human rights violations.

Jackson Richman is a Washington correspondent for The Epoch Times. In addition to Washington politics, he covers the intersection of politics and sports/sports and culture. He previously was a writer at Mediaite and Washington correspondent at Jewish News Syndicate. His writing has also appeared in The Washington Examiner. He is an alum of George Washington University.
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