Mojtaba Ghahremani, head of the Justice Department of Iran’s southern province of Hormozgan, said on Monday that forces from the first naval zone of the IRGC seized the vessel in the Persian Gulf, as part of operations to detect and fight against organized smuggling, while it was carrying 11 million liters of smuggled fuel.
Ghahremani said the vessel was seized after a month of detailed technical and intelligence work, without providing details on the nationality of the confiscated ship.
He put the value of the cargo of the oil tanker at over $51.8 million, saying those involved in the smuggling will be prosecuted.
“The criminal acts by fuel smugglers who plunder national assets in coordination with foreigners will not be hidden from the sight of Judiciary officials and officers, and the perpetrators of such crimes will be punished severely and without leniency,” Ghahremani said.
Back on May 27, the IRGC seized two Greek oil tankers in the Persian Gulf over violations, days after an Iranian oil tanker was captured by Greece in its territorial waters followed by transfer of its oil to the US.
“The IRGC Navy today seized two Greek oil tankers for violations they have carried in the azure waters of the Persian Gulf,” the IRGC said in a statement at the time.
In mid-August, the Iranian-flagged tanker Lana left Greece after fully recovering its oil cargo that had been illegally confiscated by the United States.
Analysts have described the failed US attempt to seize Iranian oil cargo as a major blow to Washington’s campaign of maximum pressure on Iran.
The campaign began in 2018 when a former American administration pulled out of an international deal on Iran’s nuclear program and imposed sanctions on the country.