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IMSC Statement on the Incident with Motor Tanker Wila

By NAVCENT Public Affairs U.S. Naval Forces Central Command / U.S. 5th Fleet

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Coalition Task Force (CTF) Sentinel, the operational arm of the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC) monitored an incident involving Iranian forces who boarded a tanker in the international waters of the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz, Aug 12.

01:31
VIDEO | 01:31 | Incident with Motor Tanker Wila Motor Tanker (M/T) Wila, a merchant vessel in international waters en-route to the UAE port of Khor Fakkan, in the Gulf of Oman, was boarded by armed Iranian personnel from both an Iranian Sea King helicopter and the Iranian auxiliary vessel Hendijan (1401). Coalition Task Force Sentinel, the operational arm of the International Maritime Security Construct, is a multinational maritime effort which promotes maritime stability and safe passage, enhancing freedom of navigation throughout key waterways in the Arabian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, Bab el-Mandeb Strait and Southern Red Sea. (Courtesy U.S. Navy video)


A video captured the moment an Iranian Sea King helicopter hovered above M/T Wila and armed Iranian personnel fast roped aboard the ship. Initial reports indicate two Iranian ships in the vicinity of the incident.

Iran's use of its military forces to conduct an armed boarding of a commercial vessel in international waters constitutes a blatant violation of international law that undermines freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce. We call on Iran to articulate to the international community the legal basis for its actions. This type of reckless, aggressive behavior by Iran destabilizes the region and threatens the rules based international order.

A CTF Sentinel coalition ship was providing overwatch in the immediate area and monitored the incident. There were no calls for help issued by Wila. CTF Sentinel’s mission is to deter and expose malign activity and reassure the maritime community in the region.

CTF Sentinel is working to secure the regional maritime commons and recommends Best Management Practices 5 (BMP5) as a guide for enhanced maritime security.