Vietnamese Afamax tanker in the midst of mysterious incident, Iran

Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting outlet reported on Nov 3 that U.S. forces confiscated a tanker carrying Iranian oil in the Sea of Oman and then transferred it to another tanker. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard forces were said to have then carried out a helicopter landing on the second vessel, allowing them to take control and steer it back toward Iranian waters, thus avoiding U.S. warships and aircraft that then reportedly gave chase. In an official release, the Revolutionary Guard confirmed the incident and said that the tanker reached Iranian waters, docking at the southern port of Bandar Abbas on October 25.
US defence officials refuted Iran narrative and presented their version of an incident, which took place last week in Gulf of Oman.
Iranian media footage showed Iranian fast attack craft sailing between Vietnamese Aframax tanker SOTHYS on one side, and US Navy destroyer USS Michael Murphy, on the other. “Iran said that they prevented us from taking back this vessel when it’s very clear that our forces were simply there monitoring”.
SOTHYS AIS records start Oct 25, with all records prior to Oct 25 totally missing, last port of call being Singapore, which tanker left on May 14. Since Oct 25 until Nov 2, tanker according to AIS, was at anchor at Bandar Abbas anchorage, but as of 1630 UTC Nov 3, her AIS is off during last 27 hours. So as usual, nothing is clear and everything is a puzzle. How did Vietnamese tanker get caught in this mess? AIS from time to time, sends strange data – on Nov 2 it showed 44.9 knots speed.
Crude oil tanker SOTHYS, IMO 9253064, dwt 107123, built 2003, flag Vietnam, manager OPEC PETROL TRANSPORTATION CO, Hanoi.



My name is Mikhail Voytenko, I’m Russian, professional merchant marine navigator, by education and former experience. I own and run Maritime Bulletin website for more than 10 years. I've been involved in solving a number of piracy hijack cases, including the hijack of ro-ro FAINA, loaded with tanks. It was me who made public, and unravel, freighter ARCTIC SEA mystery. I've been also closely involved in a number of maritime disaster, one of them being MSC FLAMINIA major fire.