New seizure in Persian Gulf of Iraqi tanker by Iran

Iran is at it again…

This from Fars News Agency:

Not much of a tanker by the look of it.

No, not a big catch. How do you smuggle fuel oil from Iran?

…nor by the quantity of ‘smuggled’ fuel of 700 tons.

More interesting is the region where the ship was captured: Near Farsi Island.
This is the tiny island where, in January 2016, two small crafts of the USN where shortly arrested.

It is in the Northern Gulf, about halfway between Bahrain and Kuwait, about 400 miles from the strait of Hormuz.
The normal shipping route to Kuwait and Iraq passes East of this island.

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The arrested “tanker” was Iraqi registered.
Iraq is short of refined products and imported same from Iran before Trump sanctioned all oil export from there.
Why Iran would stop such activity is more of a question(??)

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Pickpocket 101. While the left hand draws your attention, the right hand is busy playing behind your back.


Yes there is that. The IRGC is a “state within a state” and play by their own rules (and those of the Supreme Leader)
While the Iranian Government and EU is trying to cool things down, there are forces on both sides that is spoiling for a fight. Let’s hope that the cool heads succeed and we don’t stumble into another Middle East War by shear incompetence on both sides.

ITF is concerned about safety of seafarers transiting Gulf of Oman and Straits of Hormuz:

They are presumably not too concerned about oil smugglers in the area??

As was reported earlier a small foreign tanker was stopped last Wednesday by Iran on account of fuel oil smuggling to ‘Arab’ countries. The ship carries 700,000 liters of oil - a miniscule amount compared to most oil tankers on the waters in this region - and has a crew of seven people of different nationalities. The crew members have been arrested. The oil tanker would have gotten the fuel oil from other ships somewhere at sea.

All the pictures look like it is an OSV/PSV. strange prize for the IRGC.

Because prices of oil products are very cheap in Iran due to the recent sharp drop of rial value(and possibly gov subsidiary). According to, 1 liter of diesel fuel costs 0.07 in Iran, 0.13 in Saudi, 0.52 in Qatar, 0.66 in UAE and 0.79 in US of A (All in US$). So, smuggling out that “small” amount of diesel fuel to the countries like UAE still gives handsome reward if not caught.

I’ve heard that smuggling by land is also popular in these days.

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Sounds like some one forgot to make a “gift” to the right government offical.

Consider yourself lucky. Diesel fuel in NL costs at the moment € 1.433 per liter and petrol € 1.775 per liter.

That explains it. Not dissimilar to the the heavily taxed diesel and gasoline in Singapore and subsidised fuels in Malaysia and Indonesia.
So maybe IRGC isn’t just some “pirates” that is out to harass foreign tankers in the Gulf and Straits of Hormuz?
The Stena Impero was not smuggling anything though, so that can best be described as tit-for-tat for the Grace 1.

More tit-for-tat announced today:

The United Kingdom cannot use the Strait of Hormuz for as long as Iran is denied passage through the Strait of Gibraltar, Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday.

Wait, what? Since when have Iranian ships been denied passage in the Strait of Gibraltar?

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Armed boarding of a ship by British special forces and taking it into arrest at Gibraltar may be what is seen as “denying” Iranian ships passage?

I notice that there is a lot of mentioning and worries about the welfare of the crew on the Stena Impero, but not much said about the crew on the Grace 1 that has been held in limbo off Gibraltar:

I believe there are some Indians on that ship as well?