Tanker seized by Iran last month released in Gulf of Oman

The Vietnamese-flagged tanker Sothys left Iranian waters on Tuesday, a month after it was seized by Iran, according to maritime traffic tracking groups and Iranian media.

An Iranian official at the port of Bandar Abbas told Reuters the tanker left Iran late Tuesday “after its cargo of oil was unloaded,” without giving details about the crew. The state media outlet, the Republic of Iran News Agency, reported that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced that the release was carried out in accordance with a court order.

The Sothys transferred their cargo to a ship called the Iranian vessel Rima in a ship-to-ship transfer, TankerTrackers.com tweeted.

As of Wednesday noon, the vessel was anchored in the western part of the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz but had previously been traveling south, with the purported destination recorded as Dubai, according to the shipment tracking database. and maritime intelligence. MarineTraffic company.

According to TankerTrackers.com, the Sothys were involved in a complicated and failed plan to resell oil. The Sothys’ cargo originally came from the Oman Pride, a licensed vessel that had been used to transfer oil from the Winsome, which had allegedly been hijacked by Oman’s IRGC in June. The Oman Pride transferred 700,000 barrels of Iranian oil in June to Sothys, which tried to sell the cargo to China. It was rejected by the Pride of Oman sanctions and, to try the sale again, the cargo was transferred to Rima, a tanker originally named Gulf Sky that was hijacked in July 2020.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said a week ago they thwarted a US attempt to stop a tanker carrying Iranian oil in the Sea of ‚Äč‚ÄčOman. The United States denied this, saying that Iranian forces had seized the Sothys in late October.

Last week, Iran released a video allegedly showing IRGC naval forces pursuing the US Navy using fast craft and helicopters.

IRGC seizes boat near Bu Musa Island, Iran (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

“I have seen the Iranian claims, they are absolutely false and untrue … it is a false claim,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters at the time.

“The only seizure it made was Iran,” Kirby said.

The foreign ministries of Iran and Vietnam were not immediately available to Reuters for comment on the Sothys’ departure.

Tzvi Joffre and Seth Frantzman contributed to this report.


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