Five ships lose control in what UK calls 'potential hijacking' off UAE coast

Four vessels identified as oil tankers announce 'not under command' nearly simultaneously, UK agency says.

Arutz Sheva Staff , | updated: 10:21 PM

Ship (illustrative)
Ship (illustrative)
Flash 90

A naval incident which occurred Thursday afternoon off the coast of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, may be a potential hijacking, a UK agency said.

At least one vessel was attacked during the incident, and four others reported "loss of control" in what is believed to be an Iranian attack on Western interests in the region.

Four of the vessels have been identified as oil tankers named the Queen Ematha, the Golden Brilliant, Jag Pooja and Abyss. All of them announced via their Automatic Identification System trackers that they were "not under command," MarineTraffic.com reported.

Typically, announcements such as these indicate that a vessel has lost power is no longer able to steer.

Britain's maritime trade agency warned that there are concerns of a "potential hijack" after five ships in the same general area announced a loss of control, and one of the vessels was reportedly boarded by eight or nine militants.

It is not yet clear if any of the ships' crew were injured in the incident, or if Israel owns or operates any of the vessels. According to UAE sources, the Golden Brilliant was flying under Singapore's flag. That ship suffered damage after it collided with an underwater mine or weapon.

Neither the US military's Mideast-based Fifth Fleet or the British Defense Ministry immediately returned Ynet's request for comment.

In addition, the Emirati government did not immediately acknowledge the incident. According to Israel Hayom, the country has placed a gag order on the issue.

Seemingly responding to the incident, Iran's IRNA news agency quoted Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry, as saying that the string of incidents is "completely suspicious" and dismissing out of hand suspicions of his country's involvement.

"Iran's naval forces are ready for help and rescue in the region," Khatibzadeh was quoted as saying.

Later on Tuesday evening, Iran's Fars news agency reported that one of the vessels was detained in the Gulf of Oman. At the same time, Israel Hayom noted that the attack may have been conducted either by Iran or by one of Iran's allies in the region, such as the Houthis or Hezbollah, and that things may not have gone as planned.

Meanwhile, the Fujairah dock is hosting the MV Mercer Street, which was attacked by Iran on Friday, off the coast of Oman.



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