An incident occurred Tuesday afternoon off the coast of the port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, but the details were not immediately clear. AP reported that at least four ships, for unclear reasons, broadcasted that they were not in control of their steering. Such an announcement, made via their Automatic Identification System trackers, typically means that a vessel has lost the engine power needed to steer. The incident is still underway.
A Twitter posting on this topic, quoting unconfirmed British sources, reported that a ship named the Asphalt Princess was hijacked and that troops from Iran, or one of its proxies, boarded the vessel. The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), a British military authority that tracks the movements of ships worldwide, announced that "an incident is currently underway" off the coast of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, and issued a red-level notification – meaning an attack, hijacking or other serious incident has taken place - advising vessels to exercise caution in the area.
Meanwhile, Britain's The Guardian reported that a Singaporean-flagged tanker, the Golden Brilliant, announced that it is "not under command", meaning that the ship is not under control and cannot be maneuvered due to special circumstances. A report by the Flightradar24 network, which tracks aircraft around the world, said an Airbus aircraft of the Omani Air Force was spotted flying over the area where the incident was taking place, about 60km off the coast of the UAE.
News agencies also reported that the U.S. 5th Fleet and the British Royal Navy did not immediately respond to questions about what was happening.