US bound oil tanker SEIZED by Iranian commandos on the high seas

On Thursday, Iranian militants commandeered a Chinese owned oil tanker on its way from Kuwait to Houston. Video of the seizure shows the commandos repelling from a helicopter onto the deck of the Advantage Sweet as they took control of the ship and its 24 crew members. 

According to a report from the New York Post, the Iranian Army is claiming that the vessel collided with an Iranian boat which hurt several of its crew members. According to the United States Navy, the boat was last docked in Kuwait and was chartered by the Chevron oil company. 

A spokesperson for Chevron stated that they are "in contact with the vessel operator with the hope of resolving this situation as soon as possible."

This is just the latest incident of Iran causing issues for commercial vessels in the international waters of the Gulf of Oman. A US Navy spokesperson said, "Iran's continued harassment of vessels and interference with navigational rights in regional waters are a threat to maritime security and the global economy." 

The spokesperson added, "the Iranian government should immediately release the oil."

The report also noted that Iran has unlawfully seized at least five commercial vessels in the last two years. 

Maritime security company Dryad representative, Munro Anderson, weighed in on the possible motivations for Iran to take control of the vessel. He said, "The working hypothesis at the moment is that it could either be an arbitrary detention of a vessel by Iran in response to the US sailing its first unmanned vessel through the region last week - as a show of force."

He continued, "Or, it could be in response to the sanctions on the 24th (of April) by the U.S. against personnel in Iran connected to the IRGC (elite Revolutionary Guards)." 

He noted that the Iranian regime will execute this strategy for "leverage or signaling."

Image: Title: Iran