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Iranian forces seizes tanker in international waters before it frees it


Iranian forces boarded a small tanker in international waters for several hours, reminding the world of tensions in the region that flared up last year that involved merchant shipping, Bloomberg reported.

The Wila was in the Gulf of Oman, roughly 20 miles from the United Arab Emirates, when it was boarded for about five hours late Wednesday afternoon, according to a U.S. government official with knowledge of the matter.


It navigated the Strait of Hormuz, a choke-point for about one-third of the world’s seaborne oil on its way out of the Persian Gulf, ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The ship in question is tiny -- it has a carrying capacity about 98% smaller than the giant supertankers that routinely plow through the vital maritime corridor -- but the boarding evokes memories of a spate of attacks on merchant shipping last year that even saw Britain and Iran engage in tit-for-tat vessel seizures at one point.