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Ship may have been hijacked off coast of UAE, say officials

Beirut (dpa) – An incident involving a ship off the coast of the United Arab Emirates is a “possible hijack” the United Kingdom Marine Trade Operations (UKMTO) group said on Tuesday.

The incident occurred 60 nautical miles east of the emirate of Fujairah.

All vessels in the vicinity of this incident should exercise “extreme caution” when transiting, the UKMTO said in an earlier statement.

According to Dryad Global, a company specializing in maritime security, the ship involved is the Asphalt Princess, a tanker sailing under the Panama flag.

The Omani Air Force was running maritime reconnaissance aircraft in the area, it said.

Initially, the incident was not officially confirmed, and it remained unclear how may vessels were involved.

The area is a major maritime trade route and tensions are running high, particularly since the recent drone attack on a tanker last week in which a British national and a Romanian national lost their lives.

The attack on the Mercer Street vessel has been attributed to Iran by Britain, Romania, Israel and the US, although Iran denies it is responsible.

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