The Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker Advantage Sweet (VesselFinder)
UPDATE, APR 29:
The website OilPrice reports that Iran’s seizure of a US-bound Supermax tanker in international waters on Thursday was retaliation for an American confiscation of a cargo of Iranian crude oil.
On Friday, maritime security company Ambrey told clients that the US seized the Marshall Islands-flagged tanker Suez Rajan last Saturday. The American navy was implementing a court order that tanker’s movement of Iranian oil violated US sanctions.
“Both tankers were Suezmax-sized. Iran has previously responded tit-for-tat following seizures of Iranian oil cargo,” Ambrey said.
The Suez Rajan’s last known position was off the coast of southern Africa.
Tehran has retaliated before. In July 2019, Iran seized the UK-flagged tanker Stena Impero in the Straits of Hormuz, through which 20% of the world’s oil passes. Two weeks earlier, UK Marines had participated in the impoundment of an Iranian tanker for sanctions violations.
Both vessels were released in September.
ORIGINAL ENTRY, APR 27: Iran’s Revolutionary Guard seized a US-bound oil tanker in international waters in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.
The US Navy’s 5th Fleet said the Guards took over the Advantage Sweet, at about 1:15 p.m. local time, as the ship’s crew issued a distress call.
The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker left Kuwait on Tuesday and was bound for Houston, Texas with oil for Chevron.
“Iran’s actions are contrary to international law and disruptive to regional security and stability. The Iranian government should immediately release the oil tanker,” the Fleet said in a statement.|
The Guards have seized at least five commercial vessels in the international waters of the Straits of Hormuz, Persian Gulf, and Gulf of Oman over the past two years. About 20% of the world’s oil is carried through the waters.
Iran has also carried out a series of drone strikes on ships linked to Israeli owners, as Israel targeted Iranian ships moving oil to the Assad regimein Syria.