Maritime security company Ambrey announced that the US confiscation took place at least five days before Iran’s action on Thursday.
“Ambrey has assessed the seizure by the Iranian Navy to be in response to the US action,” it said in an advisory to clients.
“Both tankers were Suezmax-sized. Iran has previously responded tit-for-tat following seizures of Iranian oil cargo,” it added.
The sources familiar with the matter, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue, stated that Washington took control of the oil cargo aboard the Marshall Islands tanker Suez Rajan after securing an earlier court order. The tanker’s last reported position was near southern Africa on April 22, ship tracking data showed.
The Islamic Republic of Iran Navy announced on Thursday it has seized a Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker in the Sea of Oman and directed it toward the country’s territorial waters after the ship hit an Iranian vessel and tried to flee in violation of maritime regulations.
According to the public relations department of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army, the foreign vessel collided with an Iranian fishing craft in the Persian Gulf late on Wednesday.
A number of crew members of the Iranian ship sustained injuries as a result of the impact, and two are still missing.
The Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker then attempted to flee the scene in serious breach of international laws and regulations, which require provision of medical treatment and the supply of proper and sufficient medicine to seamen in case of sickness or injury.
Recovering from the shock, the fishermen managed to issue a distress call.
The Iranian naval forces, deployed to Chabahar Port in southern Iran on a Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC) mission, shortly after intercepted and seized the foreign ship in the Sea of Oman after having been contacted by the Maritime Surveillance and Rescue Center (MRCC).
The vessel was seized by Bayandor corvette of the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy in compliance with a confiscation order issued by Iranian judicial authorities.