State television said on Saturday that Iranian navy forces had detained the crew of a foreign-registered ship they claimed was smuggling petroleum in the Gulf.
A commander of the Revolutionary Guards maritime forces was quoted on the official broadcaster’s website as saying, “A foreign vessel carrying 757,000 liters of smuggled fuel has been seized.”
General Ramazan Zirahi continued, “The seven crew members, who are foreign nationals, have been arrested and handed over to judicial authorities.” He omitted to mention the nationalities of the crew members.
When the ship was captured and under what flag it was sailing was unknown.
“The vessel that intended to transport and deliver its cargo of fuel to other countries was seized 60 miles off the coast of Iran,” Zirahi said, but did not say whether the cargo originated in the Islamic republic.
Iran has some of the cheapest gasoline prices in the world, which might make smuggling to other nations profitable.
Zirahi noted that the ship was carrying “gasoline,” and said the fight against smuggling, “especially organized fuel smuggling, is one of the priorities of the IRGC’s naval forces to support national production and the dynamism of the economy.”
Iran has declared many operations in recent months that are intended to combat petroleum smuggling in the Gulf, which is where a significant portion of the world’s oil is produced and transported.