ISTANBUL — Iran stated it had seized one other international vessel suspected of smuggling gas within the Persian Gulf, state media reported on Sunday, including to rising tensions over a spate of incidents involving oil tankers within the area.
Iran’s naval forces detained the ship and its seven-member crew Wednesday in a “shock operation,” the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps stated in an announcement carried by native information companies.
The Revolutionary Guard didn’t establish the ship, which it stated was carrying roughly 185,000 gallons of smuggled diesel gas. The vessel is the third seized by the Revolutionary Guard in current weeks amid a simmering standoff between Iran and the West within the Persian Gulf area.
Final month Iran captured the British-flagged Stena Impero and Panama-flagged Riah, which it additionally accused of involvement in gas smuggling operations. Each of these vessels had been seized within the Strait of Hormuz, a key waterway for international oil shipments.
The incidents comply with a string of assaults on petrochemical tankers in and across the strait in current months, acts of sabotage the USA blamed on Iran.
A Revolutionary Guard commander, Gen. Ramazan Zirahi, stated Sunday that the vessel was seized in Iranian territorial waters after it “obtained gas from different ships and was transferring it to Persian Gulf Arab states,” state tv reported, in line with the Related Press.
It was seized close to Farsi Island, which hosts a Revolutionary Guard naval base. It was unclear, nevertheless, why the ship could be transferring gas to Arab gulf states, that are additionally main vitality exporters.
America has labored to cripple Iran’s oil exports as a part of the Trump administration’s “most stress marketing campaign” to isolate the Islamic republic. The sanctions have given rise to smuggling operations, trade analysts say, together with efforts to masks the areas of enormous tankers transporting Iranian crude in defiance of U.S. sanctions.
Final month, Iranian media reported that greater than 2 million gallons of government-subsidized gas is smuggled in a foreign country day by day.
In its assertion Sunday, the Revolutionary Guard portrayed its seizure of the vessel as a part of its “operations to detect and struggle in opposition to organized smuggling.”