File photo (c) MarineTraffic.com/Rainer Petzold
Iranian patrol boats have fired shots across the bow of a Singapore-flagged oil products tanker underway in the Persian Gulf in an apparent attempt to stop the vessel.
The incident was first reported by CNN and confirmed by a U.S. official and the vessel managers to Reuters.
According to the reports, as many as five patrol vessels believed to be with Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy fired warning shots at the Singapore-flagged MT Alpine Eternity. The tanker escaped being seized after turning into UAE territorial waters, according to the reports.
A statement obtained by Reuters from the vessel’s manager Transpetrol said the attack occurred at 0800 GMT on Thursday as the ship sailed to the UAE port of Fujairah. The attack reportedly occurred in international waters.
It is unclear if any of the shots hit the vessel. There have been no injuries reported.
AIS shows the the MT Alpine Eternity off the coast of Jebel Ali, Dubai as of 11:30 a.m. EDT.
The incident comes after last month’s seizure of the Marshall Islands-flagged MV Maersk Tigris by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz over a years-old cargo debt owed by Maersk Line to an Iranian company. The incident raised concerns over the freedom the navigation in the region and prompted U.S. warships to accompany ships through the Strait for a short time.
Maersk Tigris was eventually released more than a week after its seizure. Its 24 crew were unharmed in the incident.
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