LONDON, August 3. /TASS/. A Panama-flagged tanker, the Asphalt Princess, has been apparently hijacked off the UAE coast, Sky News reported on Tuesday citing security sources.
The report says nine armed people boarded and captured the vessel, en route from the UAE city of Khor Fakkan to Oman’s port city of Sohar. According to The Times, UK special services suspect Iranian military or their allies of being behind the incident.
The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said it was treating the incident as a "potential hijack." The organization said the incident occurred approximately 100km north of Fujairah, UAE.
At the same time, Sky News sources did not confirm reports, identifying the troubled vessel as a chemical tanker, the Golden Brilliant, which, according to the Marine Traffic portal, is flying the flag of Singapore. According to preliminary information, the Golden Brilliant, along with tankers the Queen Ematha, the Jag Pooja and the Abyss, had reported steering problems.
Last week, UKMTO reported that the Mercer Street tanker, operated by the Israeli-owned company Zodiac Maritime, was attacked in the Arabian Sea. A British and a Romanian national were killed. Piracy was suspected at first, but later the incident was said to have no relation to piracy.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry, the UK Foreign Office and the US secretary of state have accused Iran of being behind the attack. Tehran dismissed those accusations as unfounded and politically motivated.