Potential hijacking reported in Gulf of Oman

03 August 2021
Armed men reported to have boarded a vessel 87 kilometres east off the coast of the UAE emirate of Fujairah

The UK’s Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) on 3 August reported the 'potential hijacking' of a vessel in the Gulf of Oman, 60 nautical miles (87 kilometres) east of the UAE emirate of Fujairah.

UK media outlets say a group of eight or nine armed men boarded the Panama-flagged bitumen tanker Asphalt Princess.

Shortly afterwards, also on 3 August, the Associated Press said four vessels in the area had reported that they had lost command of navigational control, which implies a loss of power on board.

Drone attack

The incident is the latest in the area in recent days. On 29 July, two crew members on board oil products tanker Mercer Street were killed in a drone attack off the coast of Oman.

A Romanian and a UK citizen died on the 600-foot carrier that was sailing from Tanzania’s Dar es Salam to Fujairah in the UAE, said Zodiac Maritime, the company that manages the tanker.

Zodiac is controlled by Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer and operates the Japanese-owned carrier.

The UK later said it is highly likely Iran was involved in the attack.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said the drone attack was “deliberate, targeted and a clear violation of international law by Iran”.

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