29 Nov, 2020

Iranian forces have seized a tugboat in the Persian Gulf suspected of smuggling fuel and detained its 12 crew members, Iranian state television reported on Saturday.

Iranian coast guard commander Col. Hossein Dehaki told Iran’s Fars News Agency that the vessel was carrying approximately 284,000 liters of fuel, and that “12 foreign nationals from the Philippines were arrested and legal measures are underway with regard to their cases.”

The report did not specify under which flag the vessel was sailing.

Iranian media reports that around 10 million liters of fuel are smuggled every day, according to Reuters, which also noted that Iran has some of the world’s cheapest fuel because of state subsidies.

In August, Britain released a seized Iranian oil tanker despite U.S. efforts to block the move.

The supertanker Grace 1 was seized on July 4 by Gibraltar authorities with assistance from British Royal Marines on suspicion of bringing oil to Syria in violation of E.U. sanctions.