Iran’s Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced Sunday that it has seized a foreign vessel in Gulf waters for allegedly smuggling 200,000 liters of fuel, in the third such incident this month.
Colonel Gholam Hossein Hosseini, the head of the public relations department of the second naval zone of the IRGC, told Fars news agency that the vessel was seized in the northern part of the waterway.
He said its eight crewmembers were taken to the southern Iranian port city of Bushehr, where they will be handed over to the judicial authorities for complete investigation and legal proceedings.
Five other boats that intended to refuel the foreign-flagged vessel were also taken into custody for further investigation, according to Hosseini.
This is the third time this month that Iranian officials announce the seizure of ships for smuggling fuel in the Gulf.
On April 9, the IRGC said it seized a foreign vessel carrying 220,000 liters of smuggled fuel and arrested the entire 11 crewmembers.
Six days later, the Guard seized a vessel carrying 250,000 liters of smuggled fuel in and detained seven of its crewmembers.
In September 2018, the Iranian Hamshahri newspaper said 30 million to 35 million liters of gasoline were being smuggled across Iran’s borders per day, compared to 15 million to 20 million liters of diesel.
In October 2018, between 20 million and 40 million liters of fuel was smuggled of the country on a daily basis.
Last January, the Washington Post quoted analysts specializing in the energy industry and regional security as saying that the smuggling from Iran involves elements of the Iranian state, notably the IRGC, and private shipping companies based in countries neighboring Iran.
They said the IRGC detains or hijacks vessels when shipping companies seek to smuggle petroleum products without its permission.