Armed intruders board oil tanker amid US-Iran dispute.

An oil tanker, entangled in the ongoing US-Iran dispute, was boarded by armed individuals east of Oman, signaling a change in course towards Iranian waters. This information was reported by a British maritime security firm and the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) authority. The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker, as per Ambrey security, disabled its AIS tracking system on its way to the Iranian port of Bandar e-Jask. Although the vessel was not explicitly named by Ambrey, TankerTrackers identified it as the St Nikolas, formerly seized by the US in 2023 under the name Suez Rajan during a sanctions enforcement operation. The UKMTO reported armed intruders boarding the vessel and altering its course towards Iranian territorial waters, leading to a loss of communication. Authorities are actively investigating the incident, and the United States Navy’s Fifth Fleet has yet to provide additional information.

The Suez Rajan, previously carrying over 980,000 barrels of Iranian crude oil during the 2023 seizure, faced challenges unloading the cargo due to fears of secondary sanctions. It was eventually renamed the St Nikolas after offloading the confiscated oil. This incident, occurring east of Oman, is notable in its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, distinguishing it from previous Houthi attacks concentrated in the Bab al-Mandab Strait southwest of the Arabian Peninsula.