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Shots fired as Iran tries to seize oil tankers in Gulf of Oman, US Navy says

The United States said Iran’s navy opened fire on a commercial tanker while attempting to seize it off the coast of Oman, in the latest tense encounter since Washington has moved to block sanctioned exports of Iranian petroleum.
Screenshot of video captured of M/T Richmond Voyager being approached by an Iranian naval vessel during an attempt to unlawfully seize the commercial tanker in the Gulf of Oman, July 5, 2023.

Iran’s navy aborted attempts to seize two commercial oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz after the US Navy responded in the hours before dawn on Wednesday, according to US military officials, in the latest sign the tanker conflict is heating up once again.

The US Navy’s Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain dispatched a destroyer and surveillance aircraft around 1 a.m. local time after detecting an Iranian ship pursuing the Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker TRF Moss in international waters in the Gulf of Oman, a US official told Al-Monitor.

The Iranian ship left the area after the destroyer USS McFaul accompanied by a US P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft and MQ-9 reaper drone arrived at the scene, the Navy's Fifth Fleet said.

Some three hours later, the McFaul responded to a distress call by another commercial tanker, the Bahamian-flagged Richmond Voyager, as it was being pursued by a different Iranian navy vessel further south some 20 miles off the coast of Muscat.

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