The United States Navy has said it prevented the Islamic Republic of Iran from seizing several tankers in the Persian Gulf. This comes as Tehran has increased its attacks against American, Israeli, and Saudi tankers and ships in the region since 2019.
According to reports, this latest incident involved the Richmond Voyager, a crude carrier managed by the U.S. oil company Chevron (CVX). An Iranian navy vessel fired several shots during the seizure attempt, Navy Fifth Fleet spokesperson Timothy Hawkins said. The latest seizure attack occurred in the Persian Gulf waters.
The Iranian naval vessels backed off after the U.S. Navy sent a guided missile destroyer to the scene, and both commercial ships continued their voyages.
The U.S. Navy said an Iranian naval vessel approached the Marshall Islands-flagged TRF Moss in the Gulf of Oman at around 1 am, prompting the Navy to deploy the USS McFaul, a guided-missile destroyer, as well as an MQ-9 Reaper drone and a P-8 Poseidon patrol plane.
Several hours later, the U.S. Navy received a distress call from the Bahamian-flagged oil tanker Richmond Voyager more than 20 nautical miles off the coast of Oman. U.S. officials said another Iranian naval vessel had closed within a mile of the tanker and had ordered it to stop.
The U.S. destroyer raced toward the tanker at “maximum speed,” the Navy said in a press release. “Prior to McFaul’s arrival on scene, Iranian personnel fired multiple, long bursts from both small arms and crew-served weapons,” the Navy said.
Since 2019, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has continued to attack tankers in the Persian Gulf, disrupting oil shipments and trade. Last year, the IRGC seized a foreign vessel carrying 11 million liters of smuggled fuel in the Persian Gulf, taking into custody the captain and crew of the ship.
In May of this year, the Biden administration announced it was bolstering its military presence in the Persian Gulf to protect allies and prevent Iran from destabilizing the area. Despite the administration’s condemnations against Tehran, the regime continues to engage in terrorist attacks in the Persian Gulf and smuggle weapons and supplies to its terrorist proxies in the Middle East.
Tehran has also increased its nuclear activities, enriching its uranium supply to weapons-grade level. Despite international condemnation, the regime has maintained that its nuclear program is for “peaceful purposes.”
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