Photo credit: U.S. Navy

Panama-flagged oil tanker Niovi was seized today by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) while transiting the Strait of Hormuz at approximately 6:20 a.m. local time, the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command announced.

The oil tanker departed Dubai and was transiting from the Arabian Gulf toward the port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates when a dozen IRGCN fast-attack craft swarmed the vessel in the middle of the strait. The IRGCN subsequently forced the oil tanker to reverse course and head toward Iranian territorial waters off the coast of Bandar ‘Abbas, Iran. The Niovi last reported its position at AG – Oman Gulf on Wednesday 06:30 LT by

Footage released by the US Naval Forces Central Command showed fast-attack craft from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy swarming Panama-flagged oil tanker Niovi as it transits the Strait of Hormuz.

A previous incident occurred six days ago when the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy seized Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker Advantage Sweet while it transited international waters in the Gulf of Oman.

Iran’s Navy said at that time that has seized an “offending Marshall Islands-flagged” ship in the Sea of Oman, after it allegedly collided with an Iranian boat and attempted to flee the scene, according to Islamic Republic News Agency IRNA. It added that “the Iranian naval forces had later intercepted the fleeing ship in the Sea of Oman and directed it toward Iran’s coastal waters.”

The U.S Navy said earlier today that “Iran’s actions are contrary to international law and disruptive to regional security and stability. Over the past two years, Iran has harassed, attacked or interfered with the navigational rights of 15 internationally flagged merchant vessels. Iran’s continued harassment of vessels and interference with navigational rights in regional waters are unwarranted, irresponsible and a present threat to maritime security and the global economy.”