Amid ongoing tensions in the Strait of Hormuz, the U.S.-led International Maritime Security Construct has issued a warning to ships in the Gulf, advising them to steer clear of Iranian territorial waters to prevent potential seizures. This alert underscores the heightened tensions surrounding the strategic waterway, where Iranian forces previously seized tankers in late April and early May.
This comes as both Washington and Tehran are in the midst of negotiations to release five U.S. citizens detained in Iran. In exchange, the U.S. has agreed to release $6 billion in Iranian funds that are currently frozen in South Korea.
Commander Timothy Hawkins, the spokesperson for the Bahrain-based U.S. Fifth Fleet, commented on the matter: “We are informing regional mariners to take appropriate precautions to minimize risks related to the ongoing regional tensions, which we aim to de-escalate. Ships are advised to stay as far away from Iranian waters as feasible.”
The Strait of Hormuz is a significant global passage, with approximately one-fifth of the world’s crude oil and oil products transported through this narrow channel located between Iran and Oman.
The proposed agreement, which would see U.S. citizens return from Iranian detention, could significantly alleviate tensions between the two nations. Despite this, disagreements persist, particularly concerning Iran’s nuclear program and its support for Shi’ite militias in the region. As part of the ongoing negotiations, the U.S. is also expected to release some Iranians held in American prisons, as stated by Iran’s mission to the United Nations.