Tehran, July 19: Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has on Thursday said they had captured and detained a foreign oil tanker and its 12 crew members off the strategic strait of Hormuz for allegedly smuggling fuel, winding it as the latest incident to an already tensed standoff in the Gulf region.
According to Dawn news reports, the announcement came soon after Iran said it had come to support a foreign tanker after received an anguished call, but however did not mention the vessel being captured by it.
The IRGC also did not confirm whether the seized vessels of the Hormuz Strait was the same that the foreign ministry had mentioned on Tuesday.
“With a capacity of two million barrels and 12 foreign crew on board, the vessel was en route to deliver contraband fuel received from Iranian boats to foreign ships in farther regions when it was intercepted,” the force’s Sepahnews website said.
The Guards said the vessel was detained south of Larak island of Iran, without providing any further detail like provenance or name.
Footage by the Iranian state-run TV broadcast on Thursday showed patrol ships of a kind used by the IRGC, surrounding an oil tanker marked “Panam” and “Riah”.
TankerTrackers, the oil shipping monitor, has reported the Panamanian-flagged oil tanker Riah, used in the Hormuz strait for “fuelling other vessels” had on Sunday crossed into the Iranian waters.
It also said the tanker’s automatic identification mechanism had ceased to provide further details or signals.