Morocco airline cancels flights via Doha to Arab states over Qatar dispute

A 787 Dreamliner jet painted in Royal Air Maroc livery, sits idle on the tarmac parking at Paine Field in Everett, Washington, January 17, 2013. (REUTERS)
Updated 06 June 2017
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Morocco airline cancels flights via Doha to Arab states over Qatar dispute

RABAT: Moroccan airline Royal Air Maroc canceled flights via Doha to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Egypt after they severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, state news agency MAP and the airline’s customer service said on Tuesday.
MAP said Royal Air Maroc flights via Doha to those countries could not be guaranteed, and the airline’s customer service said flights would no longer be available.
Morocco has refrained from taking sides in moves to isolate Qatar, but some of those Gulf nations are its close allies. Morocco is a member of the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen against the Shiite Houthi militia.


US ‘suspects’ Iran seized UAE based oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz

Updated 16 July 2019
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US ‘suspects’ Iran seized UAE based oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz

  • Ship tracking data shows the Panamanian-flagged tanker Riah stopped transmitting its location Saturday
  • A US defense official told AP that Riah is in Iranian territorial waters near Qeshm Island

LONDON: The US said it suspects Iran has seized an oil tanker that drifted into Iranian waters as it traveled through the Strait of Hormuz.

Ship tracking data shows the Panamanian-flagged oil tanker Riah, which is based in the UAE, stopped transmitting its location on Saturday.

The incident is the latest involving shipping in the region where tensions between Iran and the US have escalated in recent months. Iran has been accused of planting mines on several tankers as Washington ramps up economic and military pressure on the regime over its nuclear program and aggressive foreign policy in the region.

Iran also threatened to retaliate against shipping after British forces this month helped seize an Iranian tanker near Gibraltar as it attempted to deliver oil to Syria.

A US defense official told AP that Riah is in Iranian territorial waters near Qeshm Island, which has a Revolutionary Guard base on it. He said the US "has suspicions" Iran seized the vessel.

"Could it have broken down or been towed for assistance? That's a possibility," the official said. "But the longer there is a period of no contact ... it's going to be a concern."

The Riah, a 58-meter oil tanker, traveled from a port near Dubai through the Strait of Hormuz toward Fujairah on the UAE's east coast. After 11 p.m. Saturday something happened to the vessel, according to tracking data.

Capt. Ranjith Raja of the data firm Refinitiv told AP that the tanker had not switched off its tracking in three months of trips around the UAE.

"That is a red flag," Raja said. 

An Emirati official told Al Arabiya that the oil tanker is not owned or operated by the UAE and has not sent a distress call.

“We are monitoring the situation with our international partners,” the official said.

The ship's registered owner, Dubai-based Prime Tankers LLC, told AP it had sold the ship to another company.

Iranian officials have not said anything publicly about the ship.

*With AP