UAE Based Oil Tanker Strayed Into Iranian Waters…Now It’s Missing
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.
Whoever the UAE official is that keeps trying to claim MT RIAH isn’t a UAE ship, you’re lying. pic.twitter.com/xzfmzu9Cwd— The Doge (@IntelDoge) July 16, 2019
RIAH is a fairly small tanker waving🇵🇦. AIS shows that she's been shuttling back and forth between both coasts over past year for fueling other vessels. On July 14 2019 she crossed into Iranian waters for the 1st time as she slowed down. AIS ended there. No tugboats nearby. #OOTT pic.twitter.com/s3pBXlK4Oe— TankerTrackers.com, Inc.⚓️🛢 (@TankerTrackers) July 16, 2019
CHAHAT was the first or second registered name of MT RIAH before it became MT RIAH. pic.twitter.com/4JQnlAvQv9— The Doge (@IntelDoge) July 16, 2019
The last known location of the Riah was Qesham Island.
Here’s the last known location of the UAE RIAH #tanker vanished in #Iran waters. UAE believes that the #IRGC forced it into Iran waters, and #USA says no contact with crew has been made so far. pic.twitter.com/6DF9TU6Vi6— intel.wav (@inteldotwav) July 15, 2019
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