Houston Bound Oil Tanker Seized by Iran

Houston Bound Oil Tanker Seized by Iran
'The oil tanker issued a distress call during the seizure'.
Image by Anastasiya Kandalintseva via iStock

On April 27, at approximately 1.15pm local time, Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker Advantage Sweet was seized by the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy while transiting international waters in the Gulf of Oman, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (USNFCC) announced Thursday.

“The oil tanker issued a distress call during the seizure. U.S. 5th Fleet is monitoring the situation,” USNFCC said in the statement.

“Iran’s actions are contrary to international law and disruptive to regional security and stability. The Iranian government should immediately release the oil tanker,” the organization added.

“Iran’s continued harassment of vessels and interference with navigational rights in regional waters are a threat to maritime security and the global economy,” the USNFCC continued.

The Islamic Republic News Agency, which describes itself as “the mother news agency and the official body of the Islamic Republic of Iran”, reported Thursday that Iran’s army “announced that its naval forces seized an offending Marshall Islands-flagged ship in the Gulf of Oman after it collided with an Iranian boat and attempted to flee the scene”.

In a statement posted on its site, Dryad Global highlighted that the Advantage Sweet vessel was inbound Houston, Texas, having loaded at Mina Saud.

“The current situation regarding the vessel remains unclear however it is understood that the vessel was boarded by Iranian forces,” Dryad Global said in the statement.

“IRGC harassing activity within the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman is commensurate with an established pattern of behavior that has seen Iran target vessels as a result of ongoing disputes,” Dryad added in the statement.

“This has previously been seen with the Iranian detention of both the Stena Impero (UK) and Hankuk Chemi (South Korea) the former in retaliation for the detention of the Grace 1 and the later the result of South Korea freezing assets and funds related to Iran,” Dryad continued.

In the statement, Dryad noted that it remains a realistic possibility that the vessel was either boarded as a show of force in response to the first transit of a U.S. unmanned vessel through the Strait of Hormuz or the recent sanctioning by the U.S. Dept of Treasury of four senior officers of Iranian Law enforcement connected to the IRGC. 

On April 27, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced that its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned four senior officials of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Intelligence Organization (IRGC-IO).

In the announcement, the Treasury Department described the action as the first under Executive Order 14078, Bolstering Efforts to Bring Hostages and Wrongfully Detained U.S. Nationals Home, which it said “reaffirms the fundamental commitment of the U.S. government to bring home those U.S. nationals held hostage and wrongfully detained abroad”. 

 To contact the author, email andreas.exarheas@rigzone.com

What do you think? We’d love to hear from you, join the conversation on the Rigzone Energy Network.

The Rigzone Energy Network is a new social experience created for you and all energy professionals to Speak Up about our industry, share knowledge, connect with peers and industry insiders and engage in a professional community that will empower your career in energy.

Most Popular Articles