Officials claim that the men who boarded and captured a ship in the Gulf of Oman have left the vessel and that all those still on board are safe.
The prospective hijacking of the Panama-flagged MV Asphalt Princess has ceased, according to a UK maritime security agency, but no other details were provided. The bitumen tanker was apprehended on Tuesday as it approached the heavily congested Strait of Hormuz. Although it is unclear who captured the ship, analysts believe it was Iranian military.
Reports of suspected involvement were denied by Iran's Revolutionary Guards as an excuse for "hostile action" against Tehran. The armed men who boarded the MV Asphalt Princess are believed to have commanded the ship to proceed to Iran. The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) originally issued a warning to ships before announcing a "possible hijack" many hours later.
The attack came less than a week after a drone targeted an Israeli-owned oil tanker off the coast of Oman, killing two security officers, one British and the other Romanian. Four oil tankers reported earlier in the day that they were "not under command," which normally means the vessel has lost power and is unable to navigate. According to the Associated Press news agency, one of the ships eventually started moving. Reports involving numerous ships on Tuesday were "suspicious," according to Iran's foreign ministry, which warned against any attempt to "create a false atmosphere" against Tehran.