US confirms seizure of 4 Iranian tankers bound for Venezuela


WASHINGTON — The United States on Friday confirmed the seizure of Iranian tankers believed to be carrying multimillion-dollar fuel to Venezuela.

In a statement, the US Depart of Justice said: “These actions represent the government’s largest-ever seizure of fuel shipments from Iran.”

According to the statement, the United States on July 2, 2020, filed a complaint seeking to forfeit all petroleum-product cargo aboard four foreign-flagged oil tankers, including the M/T Bella, the M/T Bering, the M/T Pandi, and the M/T Luna. A seizure order for the cargo from all four vessels was issued by US District Court Judge Jeb Boasberg of the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

The government announced on Friday that it has successfully executed the seizure order and confiscated the cargo from all four vessels, totaling approximately 1.116 million barrels of petroleum. With the assistance of foreign partners, this seized property is now in US custody, the statement added.

After enforcement of the US forfeiture order, Iran’s navy forcibly boarded an unrelated ship in an apparent attempt to recover the seized petroleum but was unsuccessful.

The statement apparently referred to the incident that took place near the Strait of Hormuz on Wednesday. — Agencies