Two ships off the coast of the UAE issued warnings Tuesday that they had lost control of command under mysterious circumstances as authorities reported an “accident” in the area.
It was not immediately clear what is happening off the coast of Fujairah in the Gulf of Oman.
The two vessels, the Golden Brilliant oil tanker and the Kamdhino tanker, reported via their automatic identification system tracking devices that they were “not under command”, according to Marinetraffic.com, which usually means the ship has lost power and can no longer be steered.
The British Army’s UK Maritime Trade Operations warned ships that “there is an incident going on”.
An Airbus C-295MPA aircraft belonging to the Royal Air Force of Oman, a maritime patrol aircraft, flew over the area where the ships are located, according to data from the “Flightradar 24” website.
The US military’s Middle East-based Fifth Fleet and Britain’s Ministry of Defense did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and the UAE government did not immediately acknowledge the incident.
The incident comes just days after a drone bombed an oil tanker linked to an Israeli billionaire off the coast of Oman, killing two crew members.
The West blamed Iran for the attack, which was the first known attack to kill civilians in the years-long shadow war targeting merchant shipping in the region.
Iran denied any role in this, while Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom pledged a “collective response” to the attack, without going into details.