The US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, said in a statement that naval forces of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) attacked the Panama-flagged Niovi vessel while transiting toward Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates. The vessel was subsequently forced to reverse course into Iranian territorial waters in what the Fifth Fleet described as an “unlawful seizure.”
“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,” the Fifth Fleet added in its statement.
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[ Editor’s Note: Last week, Iran seized an oil tanker carrying crude for Chevron. The U.S. Navy has also blamed Iran for a series of limpet mine attacks on vessels that damaged tankers in 2019, as well as for a fatal drone attack on an Israeli-linked oil tanker that killed two European crew members in 2021.]