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Suspected tanker hijacking over, says British defence

Suspected tanker hijacking over, says British defence

UAE: The British navy has informed, without describing, that the armed group boarded a tanker in the Gulf of Oman, off coast United Arab Emirates (UAE), has left the ship, reports The Guardian.

On Wednesday, the navy issued the notice after the British military's the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) flagged a "potential hijack" under undefined circumstances the night before.

Like the navy, the UKMTO reported that the incident is complete while giving no further details.

As of now, it is not clear that who was responsible for the hijack or what was the targeted ship, while shipping authority Lloyd's List and maritime intelligence firm Dryad Global identified the seized vessel as Panama flagged Asphalt Princess. The vessel's owner couldn't be reached for comment.

The incident takes the stage while the tensions run severe between Iran and the West over the former's worn-out nuclear deal with world powers. Also, commercial shipping in the region has become vulnerable. Recently, the US, UK and Israel have blamed Iran for a drone attack on an oil tanker off coast Oman, killing two people, but the latter had denied involvement.

Even, Maritime security sources suggested that forces backed by Iran could be behind the hijack incident as details are veiled under uncertainty.

On Tuesday, the UK Foreign Office said it was investigating an incident on a vessel off the UAE coast, while the US state department spokesperson had said that it was too early to offer judgement on the incident.

Meanwhile, Iran's Revolutionary Guards denied any involvement of the country's forces or allies in the incident. They added that it was a pretext for the West and Israel to prepare public opinion for the international community for hostile action against their country.

But it stated that the reports of security incidents along the UAE coast on Tuesday were suspicious. The country's naval forces are ready for help and rescue in the region.

First reports of the incident emerged after UKMTO's warning. An Oman maritime patrol aircraft was reportedly flying over the area.

Four ships were reported facing issues as they announced around the same time that they were not under command. The significance of the alerts or where the alerts were related was not clear.

While the US military and British defence ministry did not return calls, the Emirati government did not acknowledge the incident.

The UKMTo was set up in 2001 by the Royal Navy to coordinate and exchange information with merchant traffic in the Arabian Sea to counter Somali piracy.

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