Singapore-Flagged Vessel Fired At By Iranian Forces In International Waters

WASHINGTON: Five Iranian boats fired shots across the bow of a Singapore-flagged vessel in the international waters off the Gulf on Thursday (May 14).

The captain of the oil and chemical tanker told Channel NewsAsia that the vessel, Alpine Eternity, was first approached by two armed skiffs, which are small vessels consistent with those used by Iranian forces in the Gulf.

He recounted that three more skiffs arrived later and shots were fired. He was then ordered to stop the vessel, but he refused. The captain was then told to head to the Iranian port of Abu Musa, an island in the Gulf. The captain said he again refused the order, and headed to Dubai’s territorial waters.

The captain added that he was 15 miles off the Iranian coast at the time of the incident, and that would put the vessel three miles outside the territorial waters of Iran.

The ship apparently does not appear to have been hit and there were no reports of injuries. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) confirmed that all the crew members are safe, and that no Singaporeans were on board the vessel.

The captain said he will conduct a full assessment of the ship to check for damage.

The Pentagon said it is investigating reports that five small speedboats manned by members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard fired shots across the bow of the tanker. It is not clear why the Iranian Revolutionary Guards started opening fire.

However, Reuters reported that Iran had attempted to intercept the vessel in international waters because Tehran says the tanker is liable for damage to an Iranian-owned oil platform it hit on Mar 22, quoting a US official speaking on condition of anonymity.

A US Navy warship was in the area, but it was apparently not contacted for help by the captain of the Alpine Eternity, who shortly after the incident turned his craft around.

As of Thursday evening, MPA said the tanker was the territorial waters of UAE.



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