Iran caught 12 Filipino crews aboard a tanker seized at “fuel-smuggling ring” in Hormuz Strait, Saturday, ISNA reported.
“A foreign tugboat was confiscated as well as 283,900 litres (75,000 gallons) of petrol worth 233.71 billion rials ($20.2 million),” ISNA said, citing the coast guard chief in the southern province of Hormozgan.
The coast guard chief in the southern province of Hormozgan Major Hossein Dehaki said, “Twelve Philippine nationals were arrested and the relevant judiciary officials are currently taking the required legal measures.”
The Strait of Hormuz was a chokepoint for third of the world’s seaborne oil.
Dehaki said the suspected that the group was operating at the fuel-smuggling ring and confiscated the shipment.
On July 14, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps took “foreign tanker” in Gulf waters on for allegedly smuggling contraband fuel.
“With a capacity of two million liters and 12 foreign crew on board, the vessel was en route to deliver contraband fuel received from Iranian boats to foreign ships,” the Guards said at the time.
12 Filipino crews arrested in Straight of Hormuz
Maritime tracking service TankerTrackers reported the Panamanian-flagged MT Riah, used in the strait for fuelling other vessels, had crossed into Iranian waters, and at that point, its automatic identification system stopped sending signals.
In the most high-profile seizure, the Guards impounded the British-flagged Stena Impero tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on July 19 for breaking “international maritime rules”.
Iran also seized another ship on July 31 with seven foreign crew onboard over fuel smuggling, but it has not revealed the vessel’s identity or the nationality of its crew.