Left: Map of Persian Gulf featuring Kish Island - click map to enlarge
(Kish Island) Iranian forces fired upon and seized control of a Romanian oil rig in the Persian Gulf this morning. This act happened one week after the Iranian government accused the European drilling company Grup Servicii Petroliere (GSP) of "hijacking" another rig in Iranian waters.
"We were called by one of our employees at 9:15 am local time (0615 GMT), who told us a military helicopter opened fire against the Orizont rig, and by 9:45 Iranian troops got on board," said GSP spokesman Radu Petrescu to Reuters. "Since then, we haven't heard anything from them."
Petrescu noted that there are approximately 26 workers on the 13,000-ton rig, which was built in 1987.
The Orizont rig has been operating near Kish island in the Persian Gulf since October 2005. Two rigs are in place near the Iranian coast as part of a deal signed between the Romanian oil company Petrom, GSP and Dubai-based Oriental Oil Co.
The rig has remained in Iranian waters since the end of a contract in April, during which time GSP claims it has lost $70 million due to the dispute with Iran.
Kish Island is located near the strategic Straits of Hormuz, through which approximately 20 percent of the world's oil supply passes.