Iran on Friday aired footage of Iranian navy commandos conducting a helicopter-borne raid to seize a US-bound oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman, The Associated Press reported.
The Turkish-managed, Chinese-owned Advantage Sweet was captured on Thursday and represents the latest seizure by Iran amid tensions with the US over Iran’s advancing nuclear program.
While Tehran says the tanker was seized over it running into another Iranian vessel, it has provided no evidence yet to support the claim.
The footage which aired on Friday showed the commandos descending on the deck of the Advantage Sweet by ropes from a hovering helicopter. A photograph showed one commando with his fist in the air after apparently taking the vessel, according to AP.
The US Navy’s 5th Fleet has said the Iranian seizure was at least the fifth commercial vessel taken by Tehran in the last two years.
“Iran’s continued harassment of vessels and interference with navigational rights in regional waters are a threat to maritime security and the global economy,” it added.
The vessel’s manager, a Turkish firm called Advantage Tankers, issued a statement acknowledging the Advantage Sweet was “being escorted by the Iranian navy to a port on the basis of an international dispute.” All the ship’s 24 crew members are Indian.
The incident is the latest in a string of Iranian hijackings and explosions in the region.
The US Navy has blamed Iran for a series of 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. Tehran denies carrying out the attacks.
The Strait of Hormuz, a crucial waterway for global energy supplies, has often been a site of tense encounters between Americans and Iranian forces.
In early December, an Iranian patrol boat tried to temporarily blind US Navy ships in the Strait of Hormuz by shining a spotlight toward the vessels and crossing within 150 yards of them.
Last August, an Iranian ship seized an American military unmanned research vessel in the Gulf but released it after a US Navy patrol boat and helicopter were deployed to the location.
Last week, Iran said it had "forced" a US submarine to surface as it was crossing the Strait of Hormuz.
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)