Iranian gunboats reportedly fired at a Singapore-flagged tanker on Thursday as it was passing through the Strait of Hormuz.
Five gunboats, believed to be from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, ordered Transpetrol’s MR ‘Alpine Eternity’ to stop. When the crew refused, the gunboats fired across the bow, according to media reports.
When the tanker increased speed, the gunboats shot at the stern in an alleged attempt to disable the propeller. When that failed, the Iranians asked for help from United Arab Emirates warships in the area.
The Emirati ships approached, but the Revolutionary Guard gunboats turned back toward Iran. ‘Alpine Eternity’ finally berthed in Jebel Ali. The crew were reported to be safe.
It was not known why the Iranians ordered the tanker to stop.
In April, Iranian patrol boats seized a Marshall Islands-flagged containership and held it for a week and a half. Iran claimed that the seizure was tied to an old debt owed by the vessel’s operator Maersk.
The vessel’s manager Transpetrol has since confirmed that the incident took place
A spokesman told Reuters that the vessel was attacked at sea at 0800 GMT on Thursday while in transit to Fujairah.
"The nature of the attack is still unclear," the spokesman said. "She reached UAE waters and she is in the port of Jebel Ali now. The vessel is safe and there are no injuries to crew."
The spokesman said the attack had been reported to Singaporean authorities.