Two ships off the UAE on Tuesday issued warnings saying they had lost control of their direction under unclear circumstances, with authorities reporting an “incident” was underway in the region.
What was happening off Fujairah in the Gulf of Oman was not immediately clear.
Both ships – an oil tanker called Golden Brilliant and an asphalt transporter called Kamdhenu – reported through their automatic identification system trackers that they were “not under command,” according to MarineTraffic.com. This usually means that a vessel has lost electricity and may no longer be steering.
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The British Army’s UK maritime trade operations have only warned ships that “an incident is currently underway”. A Royal Air Force of Oman Airbus C-295MPA, a maritime patrol aircraft, was flying over the area where the ships were located, according to data from FlightRadar24.com.
The Middle East-based US Army 5th Fleet and the UK Department of Defense did not immediately respond to calls for comment. The UAE government did not immediately acknowledge the incident.
The event comes just days after a drone struck an oil tanker linked to an Israeli billionaire off the coast of Oman, killing two crew members. The West blamed Iran for the attack, which marked the first known assault to kill civilians in the years-long shadow war targeting commercial ships in the region.
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Iran has denied playing a role in the incident, although Tehran and its allied militias have previously used similar “suicide” drones in attacks.
Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom have promised a “collective response” to the attack, without giving details.
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