A U.S. ship carrying cargo was said to have been seized by Iranian forces, but U.S. Navy officials denied the report, which came from the official Twitter feed of Saudi Arabian al-Arabiya television station. The station reported that Iranian forces took a U.S. ship that had about 34 American sailors onboard. They have reportedly taken the ship to the port at Bandar Abbas.
Details on the reported U.S. ship seizure
The Saudi TV network also reported that Iranian forces fired on the U.S. ship, which would have probably resulted in a sudden escalation of violence in the Persian Gulf if the report had been true. Not long after the first report appeared, officials with the U.S. Navy denied it
Al-Arabiya did not say where it received the information. According to the BBC, Fars, “Iran’s semi-official” news agency, reported that Iranian forces detained the U.S. ship for trespassing on Iranian waters.
Shortly after these reports, Reuters reported on its Top News Twitter feed that Iranian forces boarded the MV Maersk Tigris in the Persian Gulf. The news agency cited the Pentagon. The ship is flagged from Marshall Island and not the U.S.
Some were speculating that Saudi Arabia may have been seeking to derail the Iran nuclear deal. It’s no secret that Saudi Arabian officials oppose the deal between Iran and the U.S.
Crude oil prices rise on report about U.S. ship
Oil prices rose after the report about the U.S. cargo ship. According to Bloomberg, West Texas Intermedia for June delivery saw a 59 cent increase, rising to $57.58 per barrel at the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures volume was 31% lower than the 100-day average for the reported time of 10:14 a.m. Brent for June settlement increased 0.6% or 39 cents to $65.22 per barrel at the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London. Volume was 32% below the 100-day average.
According to Reuters (via CNBC), the U.S. dollar declined 0.42% against a currency basket, reducing Brent’s decline.