(Photo Credit: US Naval Forces Central Command NAVCENT.)
On 10 September, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) seized a foreign vessel for smuggling large amounts of diesel in the Persian Gulf region, arresting all crew members, the commander of the IRGC Navy’s second command zone reported.
“The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGC-N) has stopped a foreign ship carrying 757,000 liters of smuggled fuel in the waters of the Gulf.” the commander of the 2nd District of the Guards Navy, Ramadan Zirahi, told the Iranian state news agency IRNA.
According to IRNA, the seven foreign crew members were arrested and handed over to the judicial authority. The ship was confiscated 60 miles (96 kilometers) off Iran’s coast.
“Combating smuggling operations, particularly organized smuggling of fuel, is a top priority for the IRGC to support local production and the dynamism of the national economy,” Zirahi said.
“The fuel tanker was intended to deliver the diesel to other countries.” The commander of the Revolutionary Guards maritime forces did not mention whether the fuel originated from Iran.
According to the commander, the IRGC naval forces have confiscated 1,555,000 liters of diesel in the Persian Gulf since the beginning of the current Iranian calendar year (21 March). They have also arrested 44 smugglers and handed them over to the responsible authorities.
In a similar incident, the IRGC-N confiscated an unidentified oil tanker carrying over 22,000 liters of smuggled fuel as it exited the Persian Gulf on 14 August.
In November 2021, the IRGC launched a special operation in waters near the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf of Oman, seizing a vessel loaded with fuel stolen by US forces. Washington has denied the claims.
Due to heavy subsidies, Iran has one of the world’s lowest fuel prices and has been fighting rampant fuel smuggling by land to neighboring countries and by sea to Arab states, where it is reloaded and sold to other countries.