(Dubai) Iran on Wednesday seized a Panama-flagged tanker as it transited the Strait of Hormuz, the US Navy said, recalling that this is the second such incident in a week.

The incident took place in a highly strategic maritime area, an almost exclusive shipping lane to connect the Gulf oil countries to world markets.

The Niovi ship, which was heading from Dubai to the port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, was chased by a dozen boats from the maritime corps of the Revolutionary Guards, the ideological army of the Islamic Republic, which took it “ forced to turn around and head for Iranian territorial waters ” said the US 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain, in a statement.

The Iranian news agency, Tasnim, reported the seizure by the Revolutionary Guards Navy of a “foreign tanker in violation in the waters of the Strait of Hormuz”.

“ No information has yet been communicated on the reasons for the seizure ”, she added.

On April 27, a tanker flying the flag of the Marshall Islands and bound for the United States was seized in the Gulf of Oman by the Iranian army, according to which the building had tried to flee after a “ collision ” with an Iranian vessel causing injuries.

Incidents have increased in this crucial maritime area for global oil transport since in 2018 the United States withdrew from the international agreement to freeze Iran’s nuclear program and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Iran has intimidated or attacked 15 merchant ships over the past two years, the US Navy said on Wednesday, denouncing acts “contrary to international law”.

The Navy also spoke of “unjustified” and “irresponsible” measures which constitute a “threat to maritime security and the global economy”.