Iran has seized a tugboat which was allegedly smuggling fuel on Saturday, September 7, and detained its 12 Filipino crew. Iranian TV reported that the vessel was transmitting about 284,000 litres of diesel.
For the time being, Iran hasn’t provided additional information for the vessel, as under which flag its sailing. The Philippine government is keeping a close eye to the situation, with Philippine Ambassador to Iran Wilfredo Santos reporting that he was informed by Iranian authorities that they are currently investigating the matter.
Fuel-smuggling is a big challenge in Iran. Yet, Tehran has been promoting legal gasoline exports through its energy bourse.
The vessel’s seizure follows the tension that has been taking place in the Gulf, after seizing M/T Riah, after claims that the ship was transporting around 1 million liters of smuggled fuel. Yet, Iran released nine out of the 12 crewmembers if the seized vessel in late July.
In the meantime, the US blacklisted Adrian Darya 1 -previously known as Grace 1- which has been in the middle of disputes as it was released from detention off Gibraltar after it was seized suspected of breaching EU sanctions by shipping oil to Syria.
Recently, the US warned of the impacts of providing assistance to the vessel.