The Second Iranian Tanker Seizure Has Sparked Speculation

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Credit: chris-pagan-unsplash

Speculation surrounds second Iranian tanker seizure,writes a Splash 247 news source.

Iranian forces have seized an oil tanker

Iranian forces have seized an oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, the second such incident in less than a week.

The US Navy said the Panama-flagged VLCC Niovi was seized by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) around 6.20 hrs local time while transiting from the Arabian Gulf toward the port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.

Footage released by the US Naval Forces Central Command 5th Fleet showed eleven small boats approaching the vessel forcing it to change course and sail for Iranian waters. The tanker last called Port Rashid’s Drydocks World and had an estimated freeboard of 21.25 m.

Maritime security consultants Ambrey

Maritime security consultants Ambrey said the ship was heading southbound in Omani territorial waters, some 47 nautical miles south of Bandar Abbas in Iran – observing the AIS signal going offline at 02.31 UTC on May 3.

Fleet register Equasis lists the 2005-built ship as owned by Grand Financing and managed by Smart Tankers, both Piraeus-based. TankerTrackers.com said it has located the Niovi in the anchorage of Larak/Qeshm islands.

Tehran’s Public and Revolution Prosecutor’s office announced on Wednesday that the Niovi had been seized because of a private complaint and a subsequent order by relevant judicial authorities.

Commenting on the incident, TankersTrackers.com said that “given the tanker’s history of receiving Iranian oil during the sanctions era as well as being currently empty of cargo, we believe today’s actions were entirely staged.”

Oil cargo discharged in China

Legal reports show that Niovi has been at the centre of a legal battle over the ownership of oil cargo discharged in China. According to Stephenson Harwood’s commentary on a 2021 English court judgment, at least five distinct parties claimed to be entitled to oil released to shore tanks in China.

Six days ago the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy seized Marshall Islands-flagged suezmax tanker Advantage Sweet while it transited international waters in the Gulf of Oman in retaliation for a Greek-managed tanker Suez Rajan being taken by US authorities for carrying Iranian oil. Greek authorities had issued a warning, that Greek shipping was at an increased risk from Iran after the detention of the Suez Rajan.

“Iran’s actions are contrary to international law and disruptive to regional security and stability. Over the past two years, Iran has harassed, attacked or interfered with the navigational rights of 15 internationally flagged merchant vessels.

“Iran’s continued harassment of vessels and interference with navigational rights in regional waters are unwarranted, irresponsible and a present threat to maritime security and the global economy,” the US Naval Forces Central Command said in a statement.

 

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Source: Splash 247