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Iran to Unload $50 Million Worth of Crude Oil From Tanker Seized in 2023

Iran is set to unload the crude, worth about $50 million, from a tanker chartered by U.S. supermajor Chevron and seized by Iran in the Arab Gulf last year, according to the semi-official Iranian news agency Fars.  

The unloading of the tanker now appears to be a tit-for-tat for actions by the United States.

In May 2023, Iran’s Navy seized the Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker Advantage Sweet while it transited international waters in the Gulf of Oman.

The oil tanker had departed the Mina Saud Port in Kuwait and was destined for Houston, Texas, after being commissioned by U.S. oil giant Chevron.

The crude oil tanker is Turkish-owned and operated. The U.S. Navy has demanded that the vessel be released, asserting that the tanker had been seized in international waters, halfway between Iran and the Omani coast.  

At the time, the Iranian Navy said it was taking the Suezmax crude oil tanker back to Iran for investigation.

In August 2023, a tanker suspected of carrying Iranian crude oil offloaded near Texas on another tanker. The U.S. seized the Suez Rajan tanker in April last year, prompting quick retaliation from Iran, which seized the Chinese-owned, Turkish-operated tanker that was loaded with crude for delivery to Chevron.

The Suez Rajan was never officially seized by American forces, the AP recalls. The tanker sat for months off the coast of Singapore after an activist group sounded an alarm that it was carrying Iranian crude, and then it suddenly set off for the U.S. Gulf Coast. Two tanker seizures from Iranian forces followed in the Persian Gulf.

Then, early this year, an oil tanker reported to have been hijacked in the Gulf of Oman in January was seized by Iran in retribution for the U.S. seizure of 1 million barrels of Iranian oil last year. 

The Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker, the St. Nikolas, was previously named the Suez Rajan, which was entangled in a sanctions dispute for transporting Iranian oil that eventually led to the seizure of that oil in 2023.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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