Iran comes to assistance of disabled foreign oil tanker in Persian Gulf
Iran Press TV
Tue Jul 16, 2019 07:19PM
The spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry says the country's naval forces have assisted a foreign crude oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, after they received a request for help from the vessel.
Seyyed Abbas Mousavi told IRIB News late on Tuesday that the tanker suffered a technical glitch, and accordingly sent a distress call.
He added that Iranian forces rushed to the scene after receiving the call, and tug boats assisted the disabled vessel and towed it towards Iranian territorial waters to undergo required repair.
Earlier in the day, the Associated Press reported that an oil tanker of Emirati ownership had been unaccounted for in the Persian Gulf for three straight days. The Panama-flagged vessel Riah reportedly went off radars on Saturday. The tanker had apparently turned off its transponder.
The AP cited an unnamed Emirati official as saying that the ship was "neither UAE-owned nor [UAE-]operated" and carried no Emirati personnel. "We are monitoring the situation with our international partners," the UAE official noted.
The 58-meter-long tanker would usually freight between Dubai and Sharjah. The ship's registered owner, the Dubai-based Prime Tankers LLC, said it had sold it to another company called Mouj al-Bahar. The agency contacted the latter firm but was notified that it was not running any ships at all.
On July 4, British Royal Marines in Gibraltar stormed the Iran-operated supertanker Grace 1 off the coast of Gibraltar, seizing the 300,000-ton vessel based on the accusation that it was carrying oil to Syria in possible violation of the European Union's sanctions on the war-torn Arab country.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has condemned the British government's illegal seizure of the Iranian supertanker, saying the act of "piracy" will not go unanswered.
"The wicked Britain commits an act of maritime piracy and steals our ship," said Ayatollah Khamenei. "They (the British) perpetrate a crime and make it look legal."
"The Islamic Republic and faithful elements of the establishment will not leave this wickedness unanswered and will respond to it at an appropriate time and place," the Leader added.
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