16 on board ship seized by Iran most likely not Malaysians

A photo posted by the Fars news agency today showing Iranian commandos in an anti-piracy operation.

KUALA LUMPUR: The 16 crew members arrested by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards during an anti-fuel smuggling operation in the Persian Gulf are likely not Malaysian nationals, according to Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah.

“But I cannot say for sure. We are still waiting for the most accurate information from the Iranian foreign affairs ministry,” he told reporters after attending a New Year event at Dataran Merdeka last night.

Iranian media reported on Dec 29 that a ship with 16 Malaysian crew members on board was seized by the elite Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The ship was reported to be carrying nearly 1.3 million litres of fuel.

The ship was reportedly seized near Abu Musa Island, near the entrance to the Straits of Hormuz.

Iran has frequently seized boats it says are used for smuggling fuel in the Gulf.

The seizure of the ship comes as Iran’s military took part in a joint naval exercise with China and Russia.