Naval forces of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) have seized a foreign vessel smuggling fuel in the Persian Gulf, the country’s state-run Press TV reported.
“According to the IRGC, the tanker was smuggling one million liters of Iranian fuel near the Strait of Hormuz. It was detained south of the Iranian Larak Island on July 14.
IRGC naval forces, which were patrolling the waters on an anti-smuggling mission, acted against the vessel in a “surprise” operation upon ascertaining the nature of its cargo and securing the required legal approval from Iranian authorities.
The ship had loaded the fuel from Iranian dhows and was about to hand it over to other foreign vessels in farther waters. The vessel, which had 12 foreign crewmembers aboard at the time of the seizure, is capable of carrying two million liters of fuel.
The statement hailed the naval forces’ “perceptiveness” in frustrating the smuggling effort, adding that the crime had invoked due legal proceedings.
“The [Iranian] naval units in this area will continue to conduct security operations and missions aimed at confronting organized fuel smuggling efforts … decisively and keenly around the clock,” it added.
The forces “do not hesitate for a moment to preserve the Iranian nation’s interests and assets,” it noted.
The statement also rejected reports by some Western media outlets trying to accuse the IRGC of seizing another vessel in recent days,” Press TV reported.
UPDATED: According to the videos released by Press TV the detained vessel was the UAE tanker, sailing under a Panama flag, which “disappeared” in the Persian Gulf earlier this month.
MT Riah detained by the IRGC:
The situation is developing.