Iran seizes Marshall Islands-flagged tanker in Gulf of Oman
A suezmax operated by Marshall Islands-registered Advantage Tankers has been seized by the Iranian Navy in international waters
A Chevron chartered, Chinese-owned tanker destined for Houston, which had loaded 750,000 barrels of crude from Kuwait on Tuesday, has been seized by Iran in the Gulf of Oman
A MARSHALL Islands-flagged tanker, Advantage Sweet (IMO: 9587192), has been seized by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy while transiting international waters in the Gulf of Oman, according to the US Naval Forces Central Command.
The oil tanker issued a distress call during the seizure that occurred at approximately 1315 hrs local time. The vessel’s last Automatic Identification System signal was sent 1349 hrs and has since been switched off.
The US 5th Fleet is monitoring the situation.
“Iran’s actions are contrary to international law and disruptive to regional security and stability. The Iranian government should immediately release the oil tanker,” a statement from the US Naval Command in Bahrain said.
The 2012-built, 159,058 dwt suezmax is registered to a Chinese leasing company — the Shanghai-based Puyin Financial Leasing Company Limited. However, the tanker is managed by the Turkish company Geden Lines and operated by Advantage Tankers.
The vessel was sold by Viken of Norway in the past year to Geneva-registered Advantage Tankers, but then sold to Chinese leasing finance in September. Lloyd’s List Intelligence data lists the ultimate beneficial owner of the vessel as the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank.
Advantage Sweet had departed Mina Saud in Kuwait on Tuesday and was destined for Houston. Lloyd’s List understands the vessel was on charter to Chevron and had loaded 750,000 barrels of oil in Kuwait.
“Iran’s continued harassment of vessels and interference with navigational rights in regional waters are a threat to maritime security and the global economy,” stated UN Naval Command.
In the past two years, Iran has unlawfully seized at least five commercial vessels sailing in the Middle East.