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Iranina Oil Cargo Seized by US

Friday 14 August 2020

LONDON/MEXICO CITY (Reuters) — Tankers carrying Iranian fuel cargoes covered by a U.S. warrant for seizure are sailing to the United States after talks between U.S. authorities and ship owners, a U.S. government source and a shipping source said on Thursday.

Iran had planned to transport the gasoline to Venezuela.

The four tankers that initially carried the cargoes were the Liberia-flagged Bella, Bering, Pandi and Luna. They are owned and managed by companies controlled by Greece-based firms Vienna LTD and Palermo SA. A fifth vessel, the Wila, which was boarded by Iranian forces near the Strait of Hormuz on Wednesday, is owned by Bandit Shipping and controlled by Greece-based IMS SA.

Iranian action against another ship on Wednesday in the Gulf was in retaliation against the Greek owner of some of the vessels that were carrying the fuel cargoes, the government source and two shipping sources said.

U.S. prosecutors filed a lawsuit in July to seize the gasoline on board the four tankers, after which a judge issued a seizure warrant. The fuel cannot be seized until the tankers carrying it have been brought into U.S. territorial waters. The owners of the four vessels have accepted to transfer the fuel to other vessels so that it can be shipped to the United States, a U.S. government source said Thursday. The warrant covered only the cargo, not the ships.


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