Iran seized a second oil tanker in lower than every week, ratcheting up tensions for transport in one of many world’s most significant commerce corridors.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy intercepted the Panama-flagged oil tanker Niovi at round 6:20 a.m. native time Wednesday because it was transiting the Strait of Hormuz, in accordance with an announcement from the US Navy.

The incident is the most recent flare-up in one of many world’s most oil-rich areas. A whole lot of tankers sail by the strait every month on their option to and from ports in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq and Kuwait. Final week, Iran seized a tanker within the close by Gulf of Oman.

World benchmark Brent crude futures initially steadied after the report, pausing a slide beneath $75 a barrel for the primary time since March. Futures later resumed their decline, buying and selling close to $73 by 2 p.m. in London.

The Niovi left Dubai and was heading for the United Arab Emirates port of Fujairah when “a dozen IRGCN fast-attack craft swarmed the vessel in the course of the strait,” in accordance with the US. The ship was compelled to go towards Iranian territorial waters off the coast of Bandar Abbas, it mentioned.

The US noticed the incident whereas finishing up routine surveillance of the world utilizing a drone, a Navy spokesman mentioned.

Iran’s Tasnim information service reported that Iranian naval forces took a international oil tanker within the Strait of Hormuz, with out offering additional particulars. The tanker was seized “by order of judicial authorities following a criticism,” the Iranian judiciary’s official Mizan information company reported, with out specifying the authorized matter.

The Niovi, inbuilt 2005, is a supertanker able to carrying 2 million barrels of crude, ship-tracking information compiled by Bloomberg present. Its draft indicated that it wasn’t loaded, in accordance with a sign from its navigation system earlier Wednesday.

The proprietor of the vessel, Greece-based Good Tankers Inc., wasn’t instantly obtainable for remark.

The seizure follows a discover final month from the Union of Greek Shipowners, which suggested members that ships within the Persian Gulf area “present elevated warning and keep away from navigation in waters beneath the jurisdiction of Iran.”

Iran’s navy seized the Marshall Islands-flagged Benefit Candy in worldwide waters within the Gulf of Oman on April 27, in accordance with the US. The tanker, chartered by Chevron Corp., was hauling crude on the time, information compiled by Bloomberg present.

Iran mentioned the ship collided with an Iranian vessel within the Persian Gulf, prompting its navy to grab it. The tanker sailed to Bandar Abbas, the place it’s being held together with its crew. The US has demanded the vessel’s launch.

Some US officers imagine that transfer was in retaliation for a choice by the Division of Justice to drive a tanker — headed to China with Iranian oil — to redirect to America, the Monetary Occasions reported.


(With help from Alex Longley, Paul Tugwell, Sotiris Nikas, Arsalan Shahla and Prejula Prem.)