Iran seizes new boat near vital oil shipping lane

Iran claims it has seized a boat suspected of being used to smuggle fuel and arrested its 11 crew members near a vital oil shipping lane, AFP reported Monday (September 16th).

A naval patrol of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) intercepted the vessel carrying 250,000 litres of fuel near the Strait of Hormuz, Iranian state television reported.

According to state TV, Brig. Gen. Ali Ozmayi said the boat had been sailing from Bandar Lengeh towards UAE waters before it was seized 32 kilometres east of Greater Tunb island.

He said the boat's 11 crew members had been arrested, but did not say when the incident occurred or give their nationality.

Another boat Iran suspected of smuggling fuel was detained and its 12 Filipino crew members arrested in the Strait of Hormuz on September 7th.

The news of the latest incident comes with tensions brewing in the Gulf after weekend drone attacks on two major Saudi oil installations that the US has blamed on Iran.

The escalation in recent months between the US and Iran has been accompanied by ships being mysteriously attacked, drones downed and oil tankers seized in the Strait of Hormuz -- a chokepoint for a third of world's seaborne oil.

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