Iranian forces seized a Panamanian-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz Wednesday, marking the second such incident within a week.
According to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, the ship, the Niovi, was seized after leaving Dubai and heading towards Fujairah, another UAE port.
Iranian media said Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy (IRGCN) seized the “violator” vessel but did not say why.
Last week, the Iranian Navy seized a Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker, the Advantage Sweet, in the Sea of Oman that was bound for the US. Iranian officials said the ship was seized after it collided with an Iranian fishing vessel and tried to leave the area.
Both incidents came after the Biden administration forced a tanker carrying Iranian oil to deliver the cargo to the US instead of China. Using sanctions enforcement as a pretext, the Justice Department seized the tanker Suez Rajan with a court order after it was loaded with Iranian oil.
A US official told Financial Times that the Iranian seizure of the Advantage Sweet appeared to be retaliation for the US move. The US has a history of stealing Iranian oil and gas shipments, and Tehran has previously responded by seizing tankers.