Iran had seized an oil tanker carrying 1 million liters of “smuggled fuel,” state news agency Press TV said on Thursday. However the semi-official Fars news agency said Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps forces had ambushed the tanker.
The ship had was emitting calls on Sunday. The IRGC discovered it has been a smuggling operation, with the intention to smuggle oil. Since the weekend, US intelligence have been investigating what happened to the Panamanian-flagged tanker M/T RIAH. In fact the ship-tracking website Marine Vessel Traffic has not had a current location for the tanker since July 7.
After US intelligence raised fears that the ship had been forced into Iranian waters, Iran said that it had assisted one vessel suffering a technical glitch.
It remains unclear who owns the ship.
It was suggested that the tanker was UAE-owned. However the United Arab Emirates said that the tanker in question was “neither owned nor operated by the UAE. On the other hand it does not carry Emirati personnel and did not emit a distress call”.
Fars added that the ship was carrying fuel smuggled to it on Iranian dhows, or small boats.
The IRGC have denied seizing any other tankers, Fars said Thursday.