A British monitoring body suggests that a ship was hijacked off the Emirates, and Iran denies
Washington: "We have observed hostile behavior of great concern on the part of Iran, including in the maritime domain. With regard to this incident, it is too early to provide an explanation."
Britain's Maritime Security Agency (UKMTO) has reported that a ship off the coast of the United Arab Emirates "may have been hijacked" and is still ongoing.
The British Naval Agency advised ships transiting the region to exercise "extreme caution".
Analysts at Dryad Global, which specializes in maritime security, said that the ship in question was flying the Panamanian flag, and its name was Asphalt Princess.
And the specialized website "Marine Traffic" revealed that it was heading to the port of Sohar in the Sultanate of Oman, neighboring the Emirates, which is separated by the Strait of Hormuz from Iran.
This incident, which was located about sixty nautical miles from the city of Fujairah, comes five days after an attack on an oil tanker in the Sea of Oman, which resulted in two deaths, and which several Western powers, including the United States, attributed to Iran.
Commenting on what was reported by the British Maritime Security Agency about the ship's accident, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, "The first information raises great concern," without commenting on the nature of what happened.
"We are following the development of the situation, and we are in close contact with London and other partners," she added.
For his part, said US State Department spokesman Ned Price: "We have observed hostile behavior of great concern on the part of Iran, including in the maritime domain. With regard to this incident, it is too early to provide an explanation."
The website of the British "Lloyd's List" magazine, which is considered a reference in maritime data, indicated that the ship was heading to Iran under the watch of armed men.
Iranian state television stated on its website that the Revolutionary Guards denied the involvement of Iranian forces or their allies in an incident against any ship off the coast of the UAE, on Tuesday, noting that this was a pretext for a "hostile act" against Tehran.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards said in a statement carried by the website: "According to information received from security sources, the Iranian armed forces and all branches of the resistance in the Middle East have nothing to do with the incident that occurred in the Gulf of Oman."
Maritime security sources told Reuters that Iranian-backed forces had seized a ship in the Gulf of Oman.
On Tuesday, the Iranian Al-Alam channel broadcast that the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman denied the reports circulated by some media outlets about Iranian forces boarding ships in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
Earlier on Tuesday, the "Tehran Times" newspaper quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh as saying that ship accidents off the coast of the Gulf of Oman were "suspicious", warning against creating what he described as a "biased" atmosphere.
The newspaper quoted Zadeh as saying that Iran is ready to provide assistance and closely investigate the matter "in case there are problems with the navigation systems."