Oman tanker hijacking thwarted when crew shut down engines: report

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A group of armed commandos believed to have originated from Iran stormed an oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman – and were thwarted when the crew disabled the engines, according to a report.

The ship, identified as the Panamanian-flagged Asphalt Princess, was boarded by around six heavily armed men off the coast of the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday in what UK maritime trade operations called a “potential hijack”.

In the audio of a maritime radio recording, obtained by the Associated Press, a crew member informs the Emirati Coast Guard that the tanker has been boarded.

In this photo from June 14, 2012, the ship that would later become the Asphalt Princess sails in Quebec City, Canada.  The hijackers who captured the Asphalt Princess off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in the Gulf of Oman left the targeted vessel on Wednesday August 4, 2021, the British Navy reported, as radio traffic recorded appeared to reveal a crew member on board saying Iranian gunmen stormed the asphalt tanker.
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In this photo from June 14, 2012, the ship that would later become the Asphalt Princess sails in Quebec City, Canada. The hijackers who captured the Asphalt Princess off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in the Gulf of Oman left the targeted vessel on Wednesday August 4, 2021, the British Navy reported, as radio traffic recorded appeared to reveal a crew member on board saying Iranian gunmen stormed the asphalt tanker.
(Steve Geronazzo via AP)

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“The Iranians are on board with ammunition,” the crew member said.

“We are… now adrift. We cannot tell you exactly our estimated time of arrival for (get to) Sohar,” he said.

The hijackers directed the tanker to Iran.

On Wednesday, the commandos left the ship and the UKMTO updated its report: “The residents left the ship. The ship is safe. The incident is over.

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A source familiar with information about the incident told The Times of London that “armed Iranians stormed the ship and tried to bring it back to Iran, but the crew caused the engines to collapse, that is. why it was shown floating in water. “

“Then American and Omani warships arrived and the Iranians got on boats and left,” the source said.

Two ships off the UAE have lost control of their direction, prompting them to send warning signals through their automatic identification system trackers.

Two ships off the UAE have lost control of their direction, prompting them to send warning signals through their automatic identification system trackers.
(Google Earth)

No one has taken responsibility for the attempted hijacking near the Strait of Hormuz, but the incident has raised tensions in the Persian Gulf region following a drone attack last week on a tanker who killed two crew members off the coast of Oman.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said US officials believed “the staff were Iranian, but we are unable to confirm at this time.”

Abolfazl Shekarchi, a spokesman for the Iranian armed forces, called the hijacking report “a kind of psychological warfare and setting the stage for new episodes of adventurism.”

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In the recording, an Asphalt Princess crew member said he “cannot understand (Iranians)” until the call is over.

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Six tankers off Fujairah, near the Strait of Hormuz, the gateway to the Persian Gulf, warned on Tuesday that they were “not under command”, meaning they had lost their power and could not not lead.

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