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The UK has reported a “potential hijack” of a ship off the coast of the United Arab Emirates as a security source said a tanker appears to have been seized.

UK Maritime Trade Operations, a part of the Ministry of Defence, described the incident as a “potential hijack”.

A group of eight or nine armed individuals are believed to have boarded the vessel, named Asphalt Princess, the security source told Sky News.

“It was an unauthorised boarding in the Gulf of Oman,” the security source said.

There is no British link to the tanker.

It comes as the Associated Press reported that at least four vessels sent out warnings saying they had lost control of their steering.

Oil tankers called Queen Ematha, Golden Brilliant, Jag Pooja and Abyss all reported through their Automatic Identification System trackers they were “not under command”, according to MarineTraffic.com.

More on Iran

The affected vessels off the coast of the United Arab Emirates are highlighted in orange. Pic: MarineTraffic
Image:
The affected vessels off the coast of the United Arab Emirates are highlighted in orange. Pic: MarineTraffic

That typically means a vessel has lost power and can no longer steer.

It follows an attack on the Mercer Street vessel, which has been blamed on Iran.

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