Following its efforts to block Iran’s energy exports, US gone to court in order to seize 2 million barrels of oil that it claims came from Iran.
Namely, on 3 February 2021, the United States filed a forfeiture complaint in the U.S. District Court alleging that all oil aboard a Liberian-flagged vessel, called M/T Achilleas, is subject to forfeiture based on U.S. terrorism forfeiture laws.
What is more, the complaint alleges a scheme involving multiple entities affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the IRGC-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to covertly ship Iranian oil to a customer abroad.
According to US DOJ, participants in the scheme attempted to disguise the origin of the oil using ship-to-ship transfers, falsified documents, and other means, and provided a fraudulent bill of lading to deceive the owners of the Achilleas into loading the oil in question.
For the record, the 324,655 cbm very large crude carrier (VLCC) is managed by Greece-based Capital Ship Management.
“The forfeiture complaint filed serves as a reminder that the IRGC and IRGC-QF continue to exert significant control over the sale of Iranian oil. As we have demonstrated in the past, the department will deploy all tools at its disposal to ensure that the IRGC and IRGC-QF cannot use profits from the sale of Iranian oil to fund terrorism and other activities that threaten the safety and security of all Americans.”
…said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the National Security Division.
Concluding, according shipping documents, the vessel is fully loaded with more than 2 million barrels, as Bloomberg reported.