U.S. claims has seized Iranian oil from four tankers en route to Venezuela

August 14, 2020 - 22:0

TEHRAN - In a statement on Friday, the U.S. Justice Department claimed it has seized Iranian fuel from four tankers that was bound for Venezuela. 

“On July 2, 2020, the United States filed a complaint seeking to forfeit all petroleum-product cargo aboard four foreign-flagged oil tankers, including the M/T Bella with international maritime organization (IMO) number 9208124, the M/T Bering with IMO number 9149225, the M/T Pandi with IMO number 9105073, and the M/T Luna with IMO number 9208100.  A seizure order for the cargo from all four vessels was issued by U.S. District Court Judge Jeb Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia,” the statement said.

It added, “The government announced today that it has successfully executed the seizure order and confiscated the cargo from all four vessels, totaling approximately 1.116 million barrels of petroleum.  With the assistance of foreign partners, this seized property is now in U.S. custody.” 

However, an informed Iranian source has told Press TV that the report that the U.S. has seized Iranian fuel cargoes aboard ships bound for Venezuela  is false.

The informed source explained on Friday that the fuel shipments in question had already been purchased and paid for and that neither the vessels carrying them nor the shipments themselves were related to Iran.

The Wall Street Journal had on Thursday cited U.S. officials as saying that the U.S. government had for the first time seized vessels allegedly carrying Iranian gasoline to Venezuela. It said the U.S. had recently seized four vessels, called Luna, Pandi, Bering, and Bella, on the high seas and they were being transferred to Houston, Texas.

SKM/PA

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