Iran Attacks and Seizes Merchant Shipping Vessel

By U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs | January 11, 2024


On Jan. 11, The Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (IRIN) unlawfully seized the Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker St. Nikolas while the vessel was transiting the international waters of the Gulf of Oman.

The oil tanker was in route to Aliaga, Türkiye, when IRIN forces boarded and seized control of the vessel. They subsequently forced the tanker to change course toward Iranian territorial waters. The status of the crew is unknown. Iran is presently holding five ships and over 90 crew members hostage from vessels seized nearly a year ago.

This is the second incident within a month where Iran seized or attacked merchant shipping. On Jan. 4, the M/V Pacific Gold was attacked and struck by an Iranian one-way attack unmanned aerial vehicle in the Indian Ocean. No injuries or major damage was reported in that incident.

"Iran's actions are contrary to international law and threaten maritime security and stability," said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Commander U.S. 5th Fleet.