Iran reportedly seizes UAE ship days after alleged attack on Saudi oil infrastructure
Iran has seized another vessel and its crew in the Strait of Hormuz, according to The National, quoting a semi-official Iranian news agency.
The vessel, called Linch, was carrying "smuggled diesel" and its crew of 11 has been arrested, according to Fars News.
"The ship, called Linch, sailed from the port of Lankah and was heading towards the UAE. It was stopped 20 miles east of the island of Tunb," an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps naval commander told the agency.
The islands of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunb, a few kilometres off the UAE coastline were seized by Iran in 1971 as the UAE was formed.
They are considered strategically important waypoints in the Strait of Hormuz.
If confirmed, the ship seizure represents the latest move by Iran to obstruct navigation in the world’s most important waterway for global energy supplies.
The US has blamed Iran for a series of attacks on oil tankers, allegations Tehran has denied, while Iran has seized at least one British-flagged tanker for alleged unsafe navigation practices.
Washington and other Western powers have accused Tehran of lashing out after the US withdrew from the nuclear deal signed in 2015.
It then imposed two rounds of crippling sanctions on the Iranian economy to disrupt what it says is malign activity across the Middle East.
Earlier this week, a series of attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure reduced the country’s daily output by half, and the world’s supply of oil by 6%, rocking financial markets.
The US and Saudi Arabia have accused Iran of being behind the attacks.