St. Nikolas oil tanker seized by Iran near Oman

Iran has captured an oil tanker that was flying the flag of the Marshall Islands when it was in the Gulf of Oman.

According to reports, heavily armed individuals wearing masks boarded the St. Nikolas vessel close to the port of Sohar in the Sultanate of Oman and issued the command for it to continue to an Iranian port.

According to Iranian official media, which cited the navy as their source, the seizure was carried out as a form of retaliation for the United States' seizing of the Iranian ship and her petroleum cargo in the previous year.

From the port of Basra in Iraq to its ultimate destination in Turkey, the St. Nikolas was in transit while it was travelling from Iraq to Turkey.

Maritime Trade Operations in the United Kingdom received information on Thursday that four to five "unauthorised persons" wearing "black uniforms with black masks in the style of the military" boarded the vessel around 03:30 GMT. The report states that these individuals used black masks to conceal their identities.

In addition, the authorities said that they had stopped communicating with the vessel and that they were conducting an inquiry, which was now underway.

According to Iranian state media, the vessel is American, despite the fact that it is owned by Greece. The army reported this information.

Empire Navigation, the vessel's managing company, reported that it was transporting 145,000 tonnes of crude oil and was manned by 18 Filipinos and one Greek national.

The United States commandeered the St Nikolas in April, formerly known as the Suez Rajan, in an effort to enforce sanctions against Iran.

Subsequent to the incident, Suez Rajan Limited, the former charterer of the vessel, entered a guilty plea for conspiring to contravene sanctions by clandestinely exporting and shipping crude on behalf of Iran.

The United States has demanded the prompt release of the ship and its personnel, characterising the seizure as Iran's most recent endeavour to impede global trade.

"We believe that this type of action will only contribute to the uncertainty surrounding regional and global economies and commercial shipping," said Vedant Patel, a spokesman for the US Department of State.

It would appear that this most recent incident is distinct from the strikes that were carried out by Houthi rebels from Yemen in the Red Sea, which is located on the opposite side of the Arabian peninsula.

In retribution for Israel's actions in Gaza, the Houthis have been attacking any ships they believe of being affiliated to Israel. The event that occurred on Thursday took place in a different ocean than the Houthis' typical region of operations, on which they have been conducting their operations.

After the most significant strike to date, the United States and the United Kingdom have made hints that they would take military action against the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

On Tuesday evening, the group that was supported by Iran launched 21 drones and missiles, which were intercepted by warships and jets that were positioned on carriers.

A resolution that demanded an immediate end to the attacks carried out by the Houthis was approved by the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday.