Middle East Eye

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UK warns of ‘non-piracy incident’ off UAE amid Iran tensions

The UK said on Tuesday it was aware of a non-piracy “incident” underway off the coast of the UAE’s Fujairah, amid huge tensions following an alleged Iranian attack on an Israeli-owned cargo ship.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) warning notice, based on a third-party source, advised vessels in the area to exercise extreme caution. The incident is taking place 61km east of Fujairah, it said.

No details on the vessel or vessels involved were given.

However on Tuesday afternoon a Singapore-flagged chemical tanker in roughly the same position off Fujairah named Golden Brilliant updated its AIS tracking status to “Not Under Command”, according to Refinitiv ship tracking data.

Iran’s deadly attack on an Israeli-owned ship is a huge miscalculation

This status indicates a ship is unable to manoeuvre due to exceptional circumstances.

Tehran has been blamed by the United States, Israel and Britain for an attack last week on the Israeli-managed Mercer Street tanker off the coast of Oman.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has vowed a “coordinated response”, but on Tuesday Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said his country was capable of acting alone.

Iran denies attacking the Mercer Street and said on Monday it would would respond promptly to any threat against its security.

Despite Iranian denials, the US, the UK and Israel are certain that the drone hit was indeed operated by the air force and space branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Five Israeli-linked ships have been attacked in the region in recent months, following a three-year Israeli sabotage campaign on Iranian vessels bringing oil to Syria.