UAE-based oil tanker disappears in Iranian waters

An oil tanker based in the United Arab Emirates is missing after it stopped in the Strait of Hormuz three days ago, It had switched off its transponder.

Shipping tracking data showed that the Panama-flagged Riah stopped transmitting its position late Saturday when it was off the coast of Iran’s Qeshm Island in the Strait of Hormuz, where Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has a base.

Concerns are raising that it may have been seized by Iran amid heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf.

Data showed that the ship was on its way to Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates before diverting sharply and slowing to a halt in Iranian territorial waters.

An Emirati official denied that the tanker has links to the UAE, saying that the ship is “neither UAE owned nor operated” and “does not carry Emirati personnel.”

There were conflicting reports about the ownership of the Riah, a small oil-products tanker. But according to a shipping industry database, it is operated by Prime Tankers LLC in Dubai.

Iran has denied involvement in the incidents but also threatened to retaliate against British shipping interests after an Iranian oil tanker was seized off the coast of Gibraltar earlier this month.

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