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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Shots Fired at Oil Tanker in Gulf

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

July 5, 2023

Shots were fired at a tanker in the Gulf on Wednesday in an interaction with an unspecified country's security forces, a British maritime body said, the latest incident in a series of seizures or attacks on commercial ships in the Gulf since 2019.

The vessel and its crew were safe following the incident in waters between Iran and Oman off the coast of Omani capital Muscat on Wednesday, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), part of the Royal Navy, said.

The UKMTO described the incident as an "interaction with national maritime forces", without specifying which country the forces belonged to. Earlier it had classified it as a "suspicious approach".

Maritime security company Ambrey said the ship was a Bahamas-flagged oil tanker, which was Greek-owned and U.S.-managed.

Refintiv ship tacking data shows the Richmond Voyager, a very large crude carrier managed by Chevron, matching the position and description provided by UKMTO and Ambrey. It had previously docked in Ras Tannoura in eastern Saudi Arabia.

Ambrey said the vessel had been heading from the United Arab Emirates to Singapore and was now continuing its journey within Omani territorial waters. It increased speed and changed course in response to the incident, Ambrey said citing its own research.

Chevron was not immediately available to comment.

Since 2019, there have been a series of attacks on shipping in the strategic Gulf waters at times of tension between the United States and Iran.

Iran seized two oil tankers in a week just over a month ago, the U.S. Navy said.

About a fifth of the world's supply of crude oil and oil products passes through the Strait of Hormuz, a choke point between Iran and Oman, according to data from analytics firm Vortexa.

(Reuters - Reporting by Lisa Barrington and Jonathan Saul; Editing by Peter Graff)