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Iran Seizes Vessel in Hormuz Strait for Alleged Fuel Smuggling

Iran Seizes Vessel in Hormuz Strait for Alleged Fuel Smuggling

Monday, 16 September, 2019 - 17:15
An oil tanker cruises towards the Strait of Hormuz off the shores of Khasab in Oman on January 15, 2012. (AFP)

Iran has seized a boat suspected of being used to smuggle fuel and arrested its 11 crew members near the Strait of Hormuz, state television reported on Monday.

A naval patrol of the Revolutionary Guard Corps intercepted the vessel carrying 250,000 liters of fuel near the vital oil shipping lane, state TV's website said, citing a commander of the force.

"The boat's 11 crew members have been arrested," said Brigadier General Ali Ozmayi, without disclosing when it happened or giving their nationality.

State television broadcast footage from the deck of a trawler-sized vessel with open hatches showing tanks full of what appeared to be fuel.

It is the second such seizure this month, after a boat suspected of smuggling fuel was detained and its 12 Filipino crew members arrested in the Strait of Hormuz on September 7.

The news of the latest incident comes with tensions brewing in the Gulf after weekend drone attacks on two major Saudi oil installations that the United States has blamed on Iran.

In July, Iran seized a British oil tanker near the Strait of Hormuz for alleged marine violations, two weeks after British forces detained an Iranian tanker near Gibraltar accused of taking oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.

Iran’s Adrian Darya 1, formerly Grace 1, was released last month. Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Monday that the British-flagged Steno Impero oil tanker will be released soon.

Arch-enemies Tehran and Washington have been locked in a tense standoff since the US in May 2018 unilaterally pulled out of a multilateral accord that limited the scope of Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

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