The Tanker Trackers website, which specializes in tracking the movement of ships, revealed today, Wednesday, that the Sothis oil tanker, which Iran says it took from the Sea of Oman to its territorial waters, was transporting Iranian crude to China, but it returned after Beijing rejected the shipment.
The website added that the tanker is Vietnamese and raises the flag of Vietnam and the Americans have nothing to do with it, and that it was by chance sailing near a US Navy patrol before it was taken to Iran by the Revolutionary Guards last month
In the context, two US officials told the Associated Press that Iran seized the Vietnam-flagged tanker in the Gulf of Oman last month and is still holding the tanker off Bandar Abbas.
The Revolutionary Guard attacked her at gunpoint
One of the officials added that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards attacked the tanker “Southis” on October 24, at gunpoint, and that the American forces continued the seizure, but they did not take any action because the ship entered Iranian waters, while the motive behind the operation is still not clear.
Ship-tracking data from MarineTraffic.com analyzed by the Associated Press showed the ship was still standing off Bandar Abbas as of Tuesday.
The two US officials also spoke on condition of anonymity because the information has not yet been released amid ongoing attempts to restart talks on the nuclear deal with Iran.
The two officials spoke to The Associated Press after Iranian state television showed a series of contradictory reports earlier today, Wednesday, about a confrontation between the Revolutionary Guards and the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which the Pentagon denied altogether.
Iran described the confrontation as taking place in the Gulf of Oman, and that the US Navy seized a ship that the Revolutionary Guards later returned to Iran.
US officials denied Iran’s version of events. Tehran also did not provide details of the ship’s name, nor an explanation for the US Navy’s targeting of it