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Iran Seizes US Oil Tanker by Court Order for Stolen Iranian Oil

Iran’s navy has announced the seizure of an American oil tanker, with approval of a court in the Sea of Oman.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) identified the tanker as Marshall Islands-flagged ‘St. Nikolas,’ claiming that the vessel  boarded at around 7:30 am (0330 GMT) off Sohar in Oman and sailed toward Bandar-e-Jask in Iran. 

Ambrey, a British maritime risk company, stated that the newly renamed tanker was previously “persecuted,” and fined for carrying Iranian oil, which was seized by US authorities. 

“Iran has previously taken action against those it has accused of cooperating with the US,” it added.

The vessel was holding 145,000 tonnes for crude oil in Basra, Iraq and was heading towards Aliaga in Turkey via the Suez Canal, according to the tanker’s Greece-based management company Empire Navigation.

“Following the violation of the Suez Rajan in April and the theft of Iranian oil by the United States, the oil tanker renamed St Nicholas was seized in retaliation this morning by the court order and the approval of the Ports and Shipping Organization by the strategic Navy of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army and transferred to Iranian ports,” Iranian media reported.

The tanker had reportedly stolen the cargo of oil owned by Iran under US orders and moved it to the country’s ports and left it at the hands of American authorities. 

Back in August Last year, the US Navy unloaded a tanker of stolen Iranian oil worth a whopping $56 million from the Texas port, ignoring warnings from Iran. 

The Marshall Islands-flagged Suez Rajan tanker carrying Iranian oil was illegally taken by Washington in April 2023 with the pretext “a sanctions-enforcement operation” and guided toward the Texas port. 

This came days after a group of US senators and House representatives, under the instructions of the Israeli lobby in Washington, pressured the Joe Biden administration to unload the tanker, “without considering its possible repercussions.”

Previously the US seized a Russia-operated ship, the Pegas, which carried Iranian oil off the shore of Karystos adjacent to Greece to dispatch the oil cargo to the US. The Greek court however, ruled against the move. 

In February 2021, the US stole a tanker carrying Iranian oil from the UAE, and sold more than a million barrels of the stolen oil for a staggering $110 million or $55 a barrel.

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