Iran tankers ‘hijacked’ over US-linked cargo dispute
…The Guyana-flagged aframax Winsome (IMO: 9192260) was taken in late July, based on information from New York group United Against Nuclear Iran. Analysis suggests the seizure of both vessels was to foil US State Department attempts to get hold of the cargo on both Sothys and Winsome, and that Iran took both ships to its waters to escape legal reach. The cargo on the vessel Sothys is worth some $57m based on today’s oil price. The US State Department has previously deployed civil forfeiture action as a tactic to seize Iranian or Venezuelan oil from vessels operating outside the appropriate waters and not flying the appropriate flag at least three times in the past 18 months. Each tanker loaded Iranian crude via ship-to-ship transfers in June and July respectively from the VLCC Oman Pride (IMO: 9153525) in waters off Oman.