(update-6:37PM eastern): The US State Department late in the day has said it is aware of reports that the Panama-flagged Asphalt Princess has been hijacked by multiple heavily armed militants.
The ship is reportedly headed for Iranian waters, after multiple reports pointed the finger at an Iranian forces hijack incident in progress, though details have still remained murky and unconfirmed as the ship continues to move.
Iran has meanwhile issued a formal denial that it’s forces are behind Tuesday’s events off the coast of UAE, as Bloomberg reports:
Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, denied reports that Iran’s forces boarded moving ships in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman and warned against “rumors and the fake news of Western and Zionist media,” according to the semi-official Tasnim news.
Earlier he called the incident “utterly suspicious” and said Iran was prepared to provide assistance to any ships in distress in the area and help with efforts to investigate the event.
Late in the day there are new reports that the US Navy is sending a vessel to the vicinity as part of the continuing investigation of the fluid situation…
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