US Navy unleashes fury to protect oil tankers from Iran’s grip
Iran attempted to seize two oil tankers near the strategically crucial Strait of Hormuz on Wednesday, according to the US Navy.
Both incidents were averted when the US Navy sent a guided missile destroyer to the scene, leading to the retreat of the Iranian naval vessels. This escalation in the Strait of Hormuz, a key passage for world oil transport, comes amid rising tensions between the US and Iran.
The incidents were confirmed by Cmdr. Tim Hawkins, spokesperson for the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, stating that the Iranian Navy tried to halt the commercial tankers that were lawfully passing through international waters. The US Navy’s intervention, according to Hawkins, effectively prevented the seizures.
The Iranian government has yet to respond or comment on the incident.
According to US Navy reports, an Iranian naval vessel attempted to seize the Marshall Islands-flagged tanker, TRF Moss, in the Gulf of Oman around 1 am. The US responded by dispatching the USS McFaul, a guided-missile destroyer, supported by an MQ-9 Reaper drone and a P-8 Poseidon patrol plane.
Shortly after, a distress call from the Bahamian flagged tanker, Richmond Voyager, was received. An Iranian vessel had ordered it to halt over 20 nautical miles off Muscat, Oman’s capital.
The US Navy’s report states that Iranian personnel fired multiple sustained bursts from small arms and crew-served weapons before the arrival of the USS McFaul.
It’s worth noting that Iran has seized at least five commercial vessels and harassed more than a dozen in the past two years, predominantly around the Strait of Hormuz. Previous incidents include an Iranian navy seizure of a US-bound oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman in April, a move Iran claimed was a response to a collision with another of its vessels.