Watch: Iran Seizes 2nd Foreign Crude Tanker In Under A Week

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, May 03, 2023 - 03:45 PM

Iran has seized a second foreign tanker in under a week, this time in the strategic Strait of Hormuz - a key transit point of much of the world's global oil - in a daring Wednesday naval operation carried out by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

The captured Panamanian-flagged oil tanker has been identified by the US Navy's 5th Fleet as the Niovi. Some dozen IRGC fast boats could be seen swarming the vessel in footage published by the US military.

US Navy via AP: This still image from video released by the U.S. Navy shows the Panama-flagged oil tanker Niovi surrounded by Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels in the Strait of Hormuz Wednesday.

The US Navy described that the Iranian ships "forced the oil tanker to reverse course and head toward Iranian territorial waters off the coast of Bandar Abbas, Iran."

"Iran’s actions are contrary to international law and disruptive to regional security and stability,” the 5th Fleet statement said. "Iran’s continued harassment of vessels and interference with navigational rights in regional waters are unwarranted, irresponsible and a present threat to maritime security and the global economy."

According to tanker records detailed in the Associated Press, "Shipping registries show the Niovi as managed by Smart Tankers of Piraeus, Greece."

"The Niovi had been coming from dry-dock repairs in Dubai, bound for Fujairah on the eastern coast of the United Arab Emirates without carrying any cargo, according to the data firm Refinitiv," the report indicates.

As we described over the weekend, the tanker wars are back - in reference to the prior multiple tanker attacks and seizures during the summer of 2019 - given a fresh tit-for-tat between Tehran and Washington is emerging.

Last week Iran's navy seized the Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker Advantage Sweet which had been moving Kuwaiti oil to Houston under Chevron. Video released by the Iranians of the last Thursday seizure showed that the vessel was boarded by Iranian troops who propelled down to the vessel's deck from a helicopter.

Location of the Niovi, via

But it was later revealed that the Iranian assault on the vessel was in retaliation for the United States days prior to this seizing Iranian oil that was bound for China. 

"US authorities ordered a tanker of Iranian crude oil to redirect towards the US in recent days, in a move officials believe was the trigger for Iran’s decision to capture a US-bound tanker on Thursday," the FT reported Friday.