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IRGC Navy seizes tanker with 900 tons of smuggled fuel, arrests entire crew

Forces from Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps are seen on the second day of the large-scale Great Prophet 17 joint drills in southern Iran, on December 21, 2021. (File photo by Tasnim news agency)

Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy has seized a tanker vessel carrying hundreds of liters of smuggled fuel in the Persian Gulf waters.

Fars news agency reported on Thursday that the naval forces of the IRGC had confiscated the vessel with 900 tons of smuggled fuel and also arrested all the 12 crew members onboard.

No further details about the identity of the vessel and the nationality of its crew members have been announced. 

Stressing that the seizure of vessels carrying smuggled fuel in the Persian Gulf is conducted with a judicial order, the report said the IRGC’s Navy confiscated more than 50 million liters of smuggled fuel, mainly diesel, in various missions last year.

The report came as Iran’s maritime authority said it was seeking to confiscate a tanker owned by US energy company Chevron that had damaged an Iranian vessel in the Persian Gulf on July 5 before illegally rerouting to territorial waters of Oman.

Five people had been seriously injured in the collision between the Bahamas-flagged tanker and the Iranian ship which was carrying seven crew members when the incident took place.

The IRGC's Navy has over the past years foiled several attacks on both Iranian and foreign tankers in the strategic Persian Gulf region and other high seas.

A report by Fars news agency in late April showed that Iran is losing some $4 billion per year to fuel smuggling.

Figures cited in the report showed that some five million liters per day of gasoline distributed to motorists in Iran end up in the hands of fuel smugglers operating at southeastern and southern borders of the country. 

The figures showed that some 10 million liters per day of diesel are also being smuggled out of Iran amid lax controls in some Iranian power plants where diesel is burned to produce electricity.

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