US seizes Iranian oil cargo near Greece: Sources
Following an intervention by Washington, the cargo of an Iranian-flagged ship in Greek water was seized to be taken to the oil-thirsty US.
The US ordered seizing the oil on an Iranian-flagged tanker near Greece, with the cargo set to be sent to the US through another ship, three informed sources indicated.
According to Reuters, it remains unclear whether the oil was seized for carrying Iranian oil or due to anti-Russian sanctions, but one fact cannot go unnoticed; the oil-thirsty US is willing to do anything to quench its thirst.
A Greek source said that following a “judicial intervention by U.S. authorities concerning the ship’s cargo” the process is underway at the US government's expense, without providing any valid reason.
The Pegas oil tanker, with 19 Russian crew members on board, was detected by Greek authorities on April 8 and seized under anti-Russian EU sanctions.
The tanker was then released as its new owner, TransMorFlot LLC, a Russian maritime shipping company, was not included in the sanctions list, BIRN indicated.
Nevertheless, on May 8, the US State Department imposed new sanctions that targeted Russian maritime-related companies, including TransMorFlot LLC, which led to blocking the company's 16 vessels.
Greek media said the tanker - now known as Lana - is believed to be carrying more than 100,000 tons of Iranian crude.
A Western source familiar with the matter mentioned that the seized Iranian oil was transferred into the Liberian-flagged tanker Ice Energy - operated by Greek shipping company Dynacom.
A Dynacom source pointed out that a "transfer of the oil was underway from the vessel to Dynacom's Ice Energy, which will then sail to the United States."
In the same context, Iran's state news agency IRNA confirmed that the Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the chargé d'affaires of Greece's embassy in Tehran in regard to the matter and informed him of the Iranian government's "strong objections".
The news agency quoted Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization as saying that the seizure of the Iranian-flagged ship's cargo was "a clear example of piracy."
It is noteworthy that this is not the first time the US seizes Iranian fuel. In 2020, Washington seized "four cargoes of Iranian fuel aboard foreign ships that were bound for Venezuela and transferred them with the help of undisclosed foreign partners onto two other ships which then sailed to the United States," Reuters highlighted.