Oil tankers pass through Strait of Hormuz
Oil tankers pass through Strait of HormuzReuters

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on Monday claimed to have seized a ship in the Persian Gulf suspected of carrying smuggled fuel, The Associated Press reported, citing state media.

Iran’s official IRNA news agency said the seized ship was carrying more than 1.3 million liters of fuel near Abu Musa Island at the mouth of the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

All 16 crew members, who are Malaysian nationals, were also detained, the report added. It did not say what country’s flag the ship sailed under.

The Revolutionary Guard has seized several ships in the area in the past year.

In July, Iran seized a British-flagged oil tanker, amid high regional tensions over Tehran’s collapsing nuclear deal with world powers. It also seized a United Arab Emirates-based oil tanker.

Following the tanker incidents, the US announced plans to build a coalition of nations meant to protect shipping in the troubled waters of the Persian Gulf.

The US-led naval coalition officially launched operations in Bahrain last month.

Iran regularly holds drills at the Strait of Hormuz, which is located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf and through which about a third of all oil traded at sea passes.

The Islamic Republic has threatened more than once to close the Strait of Hormuz, with the United States warning Iran in response that any attempt to close the strait would be viewed as a "red line" -- grounds for US military action.

In the last few years there have been several close encounters between Iranian and American vessels in the area.