Iran reveals it has seized a foreign oil tanker that was ‘smuggling one million litres of fuel’
- Iran has seized foreign tanker with 12 crew in the Gulf, state television reported
- The report claims the tanker was smuggling Iranian fuel to foreign customers
- Neither tanker nor the country from which the crew came from were identified
- Comes as tensions mount between the US and Iran over unraveling nuclear deal
Iran has seized a foreign tanker with 12 crew smuggling fuel in the Gulf, state television quoted Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as saying on Thursday.
The report says the tanker was smuggling fuel from Iranian smugglers to foreign customers and was intercepted south of Iran’s Larak Island in the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
‘A foreign vessel smuggling one million litres of fuel in the Lark Island of the Persian Gulf has been seized,’ the station said, adding that the ship was seized on Sunday.
The TV didn’t identify the tanker or say which country the crew were from.
It comes just days after an oil tanker based in the United Arab Emirates disappeared off trackers in Iranian territorial waters.
The seizure comes as tensions mount between the United States and Iran over the unravelling nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers (Pictured: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani)
Iran has seized a foreign tanker with 12 crew smuggling fuel in the Gulf, state television quoted Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as saying on Thursday (Pictured: HMS Duncan, a Type 45 Destroyer, which relieved HMS Montrose in the region as Iran threatens to disrupt shipping)
An oil tanker based in the United Arab Emirates traveling through the Strait of Hormuz drifted off into Iranian waters and stopped transmitting its location over two days ago.
The MT Riah, which sailed from the UAE, vanished when its transponder was switched off in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday night.
Adding to the mystery, the UAE has refuted claims that the oil tanker belongs to them and said there were no Emirati crew on board.
Iran’s foreign ministry told state media in the Islamic Republic that its forces had aided a foreign oil tanker which developed a malfunction.
U.S. officials have expressed suspicion that the Panamanian-flagged oil tanker Riah had been seized in Iranian territorial waters.
The seizure comes as tensions mount between the United States and Iran over the unravelling nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.
The U.S. has sent thousands of additional troops, nuclear-capable B-52 bombers and advanced fighter jets into the Mideast amid the heightened tensions.
Britain announced earlier this week it will send a third warship to the Gulf amid a tense stand-off with Iran.
The Ministry of Defence said Type 23 frigate HMS Kent would deploy to the Gulf later this year as part of Operation Kipion, the UK’s mission in the region, after days of threats to British shipping.
The MoD insists that the movements are ‘long-planned’ and not an escalation, but they come after weeks of tension in the Gulf which heightened further when Britain seized an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar two weeks ago.
Iran has recently increased uranium production and enrichment over the limits of its 2015 nuclear deal, trying to put more pressure on Europe to offer it better terms and allow it to sell its crude oil abroad.
The MT Riah was last tracked in the Strait of Hormuz around 11pm Saturday before it suddenly slowed down, turned to face Iran, then stopped transmitting its location