January 4, 2021
A South Korean-flagged tanker bound for the United Arab Emirates has instead gone into Iranian territorial waters, with a security firm fearing the vessel has been seized.
Satellite data from MarineTraffic.com showed the MT Hankuk Chemi off Bandar Abbas on Monday afternoon without explanation. It had been traveling from Saudi Arabia to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.
The ship’s owners could not be immediately reached. Iran did not immediately acknowledge the vessel’s travel.
The United Kingdom Marine Trade Operations, an information exchange overseen by the British royal navy in the region, acknowledged an “interaction” between a merchant vessel and Iranian authorities.
As a result, the UKMTO said the merchant vessel made an “alteration of course” north into Iran’s territorial waters.Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, said authorities there were aware and monitoring the situation.