Report on state TV says ship was smuggling oil but does not say which country crew are from
Iranian state TV says Revolutionary Guards forces have seized a foreign tanker with 12 crew accused of smuggling oil.
|Iran says it has seized foreign oil tanker in Gulf
Thursday’s report says the tanker was taking fuel from Iranian smugglers to foreign customers and was intercepted south of Iran’s Larak Island in the strait of Hormuz, a vital route for oil shipping.Reuters
The TV did not identify the tanker or say which country the crew were from, but said it was intercepted on Sunday after issuing a distress call.
“A foreign vessel smuggling one million litres of fuel in the Larak Island of the Persian Gulf has been seized,” the station said. “The vessel that Irantowed to its waters after receiving a distress call, was later seized with the order from the court as we found out that it was smuggling fuel.”
US officials have previously expressed suspicion that a Panamanian-flagged oil tanker MT Riah that stopped transmitting its location at the weekend had been seized in Iranian territorial waters.
Iran’s unravelling nuclear deal with world powers has led to increased tensions in the Gulf region after the US pulled out last year and reimposed economic sanctions. In the last months there have been six unattributed attacks on Gulf shipping as well as an attempt to intercept a British ship in the Gulf a fortnight ago.
The US has sent advanced fighter jets and thousands of extra troops into the Middle East while attacks on oil tankers and the shooting down of a US military surveillance drone by Iran have added to the fears of an armed conflict breaking out.