The charterer of the Iranian-seized ‘Riah’ denied Iran’s claims that the vessel was seized because it was smuggling fuel. According to the company, the vessel was empty of any cargo when it was seized while sailing through the Strait of Hormuz.
Bloomberg reports that Iran seized the vessel while on its way to Oman to load fuel for further shipment to Berbera in Africa’s Somaliland, according to Rishi Kumar, who heads the charterer, KRB Petrochemicals.
Following, he denied Tehran’s claims that the vessel, with a capacity of 2 million litres, was illegally trafficking 1 million litres of fuel out of Iran.
Generally, the Panamanian-flagged tanker ‘Riah’ sailing through the Strait of Hormuz turned its tracker off on Saturday, making the US suspect that Iran has seized the vessel due to tensions in the region.
Ship tracking data showed that the seized vessel is usual to sailing through the Strait, where as its route suggests it loads Iranian oil products in the nearby Gulf of Oman and transfers the fuel to other vessels off the coast of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, Tel Aviv-based maritime analysis firm Windward informs.
Yet, Kumar reported to Bloomberg that the vessel didn’t have a planned journey to transport Iranian oil, since its charter contract began on June 15.
The Riah belongs to Iraq-based Riah Shipping & Trading Inc. KRB Petrochemicals, the charterer, is based in Sharjah’s Hamriyah Free Zone.