World War 3 fears erupt as Iran claims it has seized South Korean vessel in Gulf

Iran flag hoisted over seized UK tanker Stena Impero

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) naval authority earlier said on its website that an “interaction” between Iranian authorities and a merchant vessel in the Strait of Hormuz led the ship to alter its course and proceed into Iranian waters.  British maritime security firm Ambrey identified the vessel as South Korean-flagged tanker HANKUK CHEMI and said it appeared to have been seized and had since been tracked inside Iranian territorial waters headed towards Bandar Abbas.

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Ambrey said the vessel, owned by DM Shipping Co, had departed from the Petroleum Chemical Quay in Jubail in Saudi Arabia before the incident.

Maritime security firm Dryad Global said on its website that chemical tanker HANKUK CHEMI has “likely been detained by Iranian forces” in the Strait of Hormuz while inbound to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.

Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV earlier cited unnamed sources as saying a South Korean-flagged tanker carrying chemicals had been seized by Iran.

The apparent seizure comes on the anniversary of the assassination by US drone strike of IRGC commander Qassem Soleimani.

Last year, the IRGC famously seized the UK-flagged tanker the Stena Impero in apparent retaliation for the seizure off the coast of Gibraltar of the Iranian ship the Princess Grace.

Iranian news agency Tasnim has claimed the ship is crewed by nationals from South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar.

The news comes days after Iran confirmed it had resumed 20 percent uranium enrichment at an underground nuclear facility, breaching a 2015 nuclear pact with major power

(More to follow)

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