Iran has detained a South Korean tanker in the Strait of Hormuz (VIDEO)

Iran has detained a South Korean tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran has claimed responsibility for the seizure of a tanker used to transport petroleum products and chemicals after the ship deviated into the territorial waters of the Islamic Republic, Bloomberg reports.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, or Pasdaran (IRGC), has captured the South Korean-flagged Hankuk Chemi at 10 a.m. Iranian time (8:30 a.m. Bulgarian time) "for repeated violations of marine environmental laws." environment, "reads a statement from IRGC.

Another tanker arrest follows a series of security incidents in the Gulf region, where a number of vessels have been attacked in recent years amid heated tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The South Korean tanker was transporting 7,200 tons of petrochemicals from Jubail to Saudi Arabia when the Islamic Republic intercepted it, IRGC reported. Iranian forces have diverted the ship to the port city of Bandar Abbas, the semi-state news agency Fars reported.

Earlier, the Tasnim news agency reported that Iran had seized the tanker due to "chemical pollution in the Persian Gulf", citing its sources. According to the agency, crew members from South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar were arrested.

Hankuk Chemi sailed for the United Arab Emirates port of Fujairah after loading petrochemicals in Jubilee on January 2, according to tracking data collected by Bloomberg. The tanker veered off course and entered the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow stretch between Oman and Iran, heading for Bandar Abbas.

The United Kingdom's Maritime Merchant Organization (UKMTO), which acts as an intermediary between the Royal Navy and merchant ships sailing in high-risk areas, said there was "interaction" between a merchant vessel and Iranian authorities in the Strait of Hormuz between 6:15 p.m. and 7:33 British time.

The fifth US fleet operating in the region is "aware and monitoring the situation," said spokeswoman Commander Rebecca Rebaric.

The incident comes days after a mine attached to the hull of an oil tanker off Iraq was discovered on December 31, near the Iranian border. A ship in the Saudi port of Jeddah was also hit by an explosion earlier last month, which Saudi authorities described as an act of terror.

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