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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - DUBAI — Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps on Monday seized a ship near Abu Musa Island in the Arabian Gulf with 16 Malaysian crew on board for fuel smuggling, Iran’s official news agency, IRNA, reported.
The ship was allegedly carrying nearly 1,312,000 liters of fuel. The report did not say what nation's flag the vessel was flying.
Iran has often seized boats that it claims are being used for smuggling oil in the Arabian Gulf.
The seizure of the ship comes as Iran’s military took part in naval exercises with ships of the Chinese and Russian navies.
Malaysian news website freemalaysiatoday.com quoted Iran’s Fars news agency saying that commandos of the Iranian Army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps were dispatched on a mission to counter pirates during the ongoing trilateral naval drill with China and Russia in the Indian Ocean and Sea of Oman.
The islands of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunb lie a few kilometers off the United Arab Emirates coastline and are regarded as strategically important waterways in the Strait of Hormuz.
The three islands were seized by Iran in 1971 just as the UAE was formed.
The Tunbs had historically belonged to Ras al Khaimah and Abu Musa to Sharjah, when both emirates were still part of the Trucial States. — Agencies
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