UAE Based Oil Tanker Strayed Into Iranian Waters…Now It’s Missing

 In Foreign

Officials have lost contact with the Riah, a 190 foot UAE based oil tanker after it strayed into Iranian waters over the weekend, according to Fox. At around 11 p.m. on Saturday, the vessel stopped transmitting, and the last location showed it pointed toward Iran. The tanker never shut down its transmitter in previous trips from Dubai and Sharjah before going through the Strait of Hormuz and heading to Fujairah.

Riah, a UAE Based Oil Tanker

The Riah flies a Panama Flag – flagging the ship with another nation is common in merchant vessels.

Something is fishy, and someone appears to be lying. The tanker is owned by Prime Tankers LLC out of Dubai, the registered owners of the vessel, but they say the ship was sold to a company called Mouj Al-Bahar. That company was contacted by Fox News, and was told they don’t own any ships. The UAE says they are ‘monitoring’ the situation, but deny that the ship belongs to them, yet the owner is based in Dubai.

“The tanker in question is neither UAE owned nor operated, does not carry Emirati personnel, and did not emit a distress call. We are monitoring the situation.” UAE officials

They are correct about one thing, the UAE based oil tanker did not emit a distress call, which seems odd if they were forced by Iranian vessels.

The last known location of the Riah was Qesham Island.

Bloomberg reported,

If the Riah has been seized, it would seem an unusual target for Iran. The vessel is 30 years old and tiny. Its capacity is 2,000 dead weight tons, according to the MarineTraffic website. That is only a fraction of the nearly 160,000-ton capacity of the British Heritage, the U.K. oil tanker harassed by Iranian ships last week while exiting the Persian Gulf.

The Jerusalem Post reported that US intelligence believes that the IRGC forced the vessel to comply. “US officials believe that the Panama flagged tanker M/I RIAH was seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on Saturday night, when it was crossing the Strait of Hormuz in international waters. Information from the US intelligence agency indicated that the IRGC troops forced the tanker to enter Iranian territorial waters before withdrawing the vessel to Iran’s Qeshm Island.”

The US 5th Fleet is based in the region and had no comment for any of the news organizations that contacted them. Iran has also failed to comment on the vessel, other than to deny any involvement, which is also common.

Featured photo of oil tanker is a file photo, not the Riah

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