Iran announces capture of vessel with smuggled fuel in the Persian Gulf
Since 2018, Iran has been fighting rampant fuel smuggling by land to neighboring countries and by sea to Gulf Arab states
By News Desk - April 15 2022

(Photo credit: Iranian Defense Ministry)

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) seized a foreign-flagged vessel carrying smuggled fuel into the Gulf and arrested its seven crew members, authorities said on 15 April.

Quoted by the state news agency IRNA, Gholam Hossein Hosseini, a public relations official of the IRGC said: “During the investigation, 250,000 liters of smuggled fuel were discovered.”

He added that “the fight against smuggling in the Persian Gulf, particularly fuel, is one of the important missions of the navy.”

This incident follows a spate of vessel seizures in shipping lanes connected to the Gulf, where much of the world’s oil is produced and shipped.

Last week, Iran announced the capture of a foreign vessel carrying more than 220,000 liters of smuggled fuel and the arrest of its 11 crew members, without giving further details.

This incident is also the latest in a series of similar actions over the past few years. Economic sanctions imposed by the US in 2018, and the fact that Iran is home to huge oil and gas reserves, explain the existence of numerous fuel smuggling activities.

The Fars News agency has estimated that between seven and 10 million liters of crude oil and diesel were smuggled out of Iran last year.

The main destinations for the smuggled fuel, often extracted from Iranian soil, are neighboring Pakistan and Turkey, countries with far smaller reserves.

On November 2021, the IRGC launched a special operation in waters near Hormuz in the Gulf of Oman, seizing a vessel loaded with stolen fuel from US forces. Washington has denied all the accusations.

On November 2020, UK forces captured an Iranian oil tanker in waters near Gibraltar, and in retaliation Iran seized a British cargo vessel.

This prompted a number of countries to call for an international fleet to confront Iran’s ‘harassment’ of shipping in this important waterway.

Tehran has repeatedly denounced US sanctions, which prohibit it from extracting and exporting fossil fuels safely and without obstacles.

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