New Delhi: Tensions in the Middle Eastern shipping lanes continued to run high on Thursday amid reports of a hijacked oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman, which was boarded by masked individuals and forced to alter course toward Iran, the Oil Price reported.
The UK Marine Trade Operations (UKMTO) said on Thursday that it had received a report of a vessel being boarded by 4-5 armed unauthorized persons in an area east of Sohar, Oman.
“Unauthorised boarders are reported to be wearing military style black uniforms with black masks,” the UKMTO said, the Oil Price reported.
The ship “has altered course towards Iranian territorial waters and communications with the vessel have been lost”, the UK authority said.
According to Tanker Trackers, the oil tanker “which the Iranians have boarded today in the Gulf of Oman is the ST NIKOLAS”, which is carrying Iraqi oil.
Formerly known as the SUEZ RAJAN, the tanker was previously seized by the US government after being found to transport a million barrels of Iranian oil in connection to a US company, TankerTrackers.com noted.
At the time of the incident, the vessel was traveling to the Turkish port of Aliaga after loading crude from the Iraqi Basrah Oil Terminal, Oil Price reported.
Early on Thursday, oil prices rose by nearly 2 per cent amid intensified attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea this week.