Below is the International Maritime Security Construct’s (IMSC) full statement on Iranian forces’ boarding of the Liberian-flagged MT Wila in the Gulf of Oman on Wednesday.
The IMSC is a consortium of countries tasked with protecting maritime commerce in the Middle East, particularly in the Arabian Gulf, Strait of Hurmuz, the Bab el-Mandeb Strait and the Gulf of Oman. It currently includes eight member countries, including Albania, Australia, Bahrain, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Lithuania, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States.
The MT Wila was in international waters en-route to the UAE port of Khor Fakkan, in the Gulf of Oman, when it was boarded by armed Iranian personnel who fast roped aboard the ship from an Iranian Sea King helicopter. The ship, which has since been released, is currently at anchor at the Fujairah anchorage in the UAE.
The full statement from the IMSC is below:
Coalition Task Force (CTF) Sentinel, the operational arm of the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC) monitored an incident involving Iranian forces who boarded a tanker in the international waters of the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz, Aug 12.
A video captured the moment an Iranian Sea King helicopter hovered above M/T Wila and armed Iranian personnel fast roped aboard the ship. Initial reports indicate two Iranian ships in the vicinity of the incident.
Iran’s use of its military forces to conduct an armed boarding of a commercial vessel in international waters constitutes a blatant violation of international law that undermines freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce. We call on Iran to articulate to the international community the legal basis for its actions. This type of reckless, aggressive behavior by Iran destabilizes the region and threatens the rules based international order.
A CTF Sentinel coalition ship was providing overwatch in the immediate area and monitored the incident. There were no calls for help issued by Wila. CTF Sentinel’s mission is to deter and expose malign activity and reassure the maritime community in the region.
CTF Sentinel is working to secure the regional maritime commons and recommends Best Management Practices 5 (BMP5) as a guide for enhanced maritime security.
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