The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has taken control of two oil tankers that were allegedly involved in smuggling more than 1.5 million liters of fuel into the Persian Gulf. However, the United States has cast doubt on Iran’s claims regarding the seizure of these tankers in the tense Gulf waters.
According to Iranian state television, the IRGC’s naval forces seized these two ships in the past two days. The tankers were flying the flags of Tanzania and Panama. Adm. Mohammad-Sharif Shirali, the deputy commander of the Third Naval Zone of the IRGC Navy, stated that the 37 crew members on these vessels have been handed over to the judicial authorities for legal proceedings.
Providing details of the operation, the official explained that the IRGC Navy had been stationed at Mahshahr Port in the southern Khuzestan province for the past two days. They closely monitored the foreign oil tankers and eventually seized them in accordance with judicial orders.
Iran’s naval forces have, on multiple occasions in recent years, successfully captured foreign-flagged vessels in the Persian Gulf for smuggling fuel or violating maritime regulations.
Earlier this year, in July, a Bahamas-flagged oil tanker called the Richmond Voyager was also seized after it collided with an Iranian vessel in the Sea of Oman, located in the southern Hormozgan province.