Posted on July 17, 2019 by Ilias Kiritsis
US Intel suggests that the Panama-flagged Oil Tanker, MT RIAH has been seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
The vessel, which usually is used to transport oil from Dubai and Sharjah to Fujairah, was transiting through the Strait of Hormuz during the evening of July the 13th, when it lost its AIS signal.
The incident occurred shortly before midnight. According to the latest marine tracking data, the vessel deviated from its original course and headed towards the coast of Iran.
The vessel’s AIS has remained turned off ever since.
Iranian News Agency, ISNA has published a story suggesting that the Iranian Navy went to support the MT Riah after the vessel experienced mechanical problems.
“An international oil tanker was in trouble due to a technical fault in the Persian Gulf. After receiving a request for assistance, Iranian forces approached it and used a tugboat to pull it towards Iranian waters for the necessary repairs to be carried out,” reads the statement from ISNA.
If that is still the case, the question remains as to why the AIS is still turned off, and why there’s been no contact with any of the crew of the MT Riah.
The MT Riah hasn’t turned off its AIS in the last three months of transiting through the Gulf, so it makes little sense for it to start now.
Image Courtesy of Marine Traffic