The US Navy said it had intervened to prevent Iran from seizing two commercial tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Wednesday in the latest in a series of seizures or attacks on ships in the area since 2019.
US Naval Forces Central Command said Wednesday that U.S. forces prevented two attempted commercial tanker seizures by the Iranian Navy after the Iranians had opened fire in one of the incidents near the coast of Oman.
In the first incident, an Iranian naval vessel approached the Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker TRF Moss in international waters in the Gulf of Oman, at 1 a.m. local time, the officials said.
The Iranian vessel departed the scene when a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer, along with maritime patrol aircraft, arrived on station.
But only three hours later, the U.S. Navy received a distress call from Bahamian-flagged oil tanker Richmond Voyager while the ship was more than 20 miles off the coast of Muscat, Oman, and transiting international waters toward the Arabian Sea, a news release from the US Navy read.
Another Iranian naval vessel had closed within one mile of Richmond Voyager while hailing the commercial tanker to stop.
U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer McFaul directed course toward Richmond Voyager at maximum speed as the merchant tanker continued its transit.
As the US Navy claims, prior to the arrival of McFaul’s arrival on scene, Iranian personnel fired multiple, long bursts from both small arms and crew-served weapons.
In accordance with the navy´s latest reports Richmond Voyager sustained no casualties or significant damage. However, several rounds hit the ship’s hull near crew living spaces. The Iranian navy vessel departed when McFaul arrived.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the entire U.S. Naval Forces Central Command team, especially the exceptional effort by the McFaul crew, for immediately responding and preventing another seizure,” said Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces. “We remain vigilant and ready to protect navigational rights in these critical waters.”
Iranian authorities have not yet officially commented on the matter. It is worth noting that both of these incidents occurred in international waters.
On July 5, U.S. forces prevented two attempted commercial tanker seizures by the Iranian Navy after the Iranians had opened fire in one of the incidents near the coast of Oman. Both of these incidents occurred in international waters. Read more ⬇️ https://t.co/HJNTzKtsXv pic.twitter.com/rvzDcATCQq— U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet (@US5thFleet) July 5, 2023