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Charles Kennedy

Charles Kennedy

Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com

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U.S. Set To Unload Oil From Seized Iranian Tanker

  • According to the Financial Times, the United States is expected to start unloading oil from the Iranian tanker it seized in April.
  • Following the seizure of the Suez Rajan, Iran retaliated by seizing a Chinese-owned tanker that was loaded for delivery to Chevron.
  • The unloading of the oil likely means the U.S. administration has struck a deal with the owners of the vessel and will now sell the oil if it hasn’t already.
Oil Tanker

The United States is about to start unloading crude from a tanker allegedly used to carry Iranian oil abroad, the FT has reported, noting the move would fuel the escalation of tension between the U.S. and Iran.

The U.S. seized the Suez Rajan in April, prompting quick retaliation from Iran, which in its turn seized a Chinese-owned, Turkish-operated tanker that was loaded with crude for delivery to Chevron.

Iran claimed that the tanker collided with an unidentified Iranian vessel just hours prior to its seizure, with several crew members reportedly falling overboard while others were left injured. The tanker then fled the scene and ignored radio calls for eight hours before a court-ordered its seizure.

The Suez Rajan, according to the FT, has received a license from the U.S. Treasury Department to import Iranian crude into the United States. Its cargo is some 800,000 barrels of crude and, per an unnamed former member of the Biden administration, its arrival in Texas is likely the result of a deal that got struck between the administration and the owners and operators of the vessel.

The cargo of the Suez Rajan will either be sold now or has already been sold and the proceeds may be given to a fund created by Congress for U.S. victims of state-sponsored terrorism. The affair is unlikely to go down well in Tehran, especially since it is not the first tanker seizure the U.S. has done this year.

In fact, it recently emerged that another ship seizure may have been what prompted the Iranian seizure of the Chevron-bound tanker in April. Maritime security firm Ambrey said in late April that Iran's motive for seizing Chevron's load of crude oil was in retaliation for the U.S. seizure that took place not even five days prior.

"Both tankers were Suezmax-sized. Iran has previously responded tit-for-tat following seizures of Iranian oil cargo," Ambrey said in a note to clients, according to the Jerusalem Post.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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