Pentagon Chief: No Plans to Try to Capture Iranian Oil Tanker

US tried to bribe Iran captain to surrender ship

Having tried to convince Gibraltar to give it to them, the US has made no secret about its interest in capturing the Iranian oil tanker, initially known as Grace 1 but subsequently renamed the Adrian Darya 1. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, however, says he personally has no plans to try to capture the tanker militarily.

“We do not talk about plans, but currently I have no plan right now sitting on my desk,” Esper told reporters. So far it’s not clear that the Pentagon has been involved at all in trying to capture the ship.

US lawyers pushed Gibraltar, unsuccessfully, to give the ship to them, and State Department official Brian Hook emailed the ship’s captain offering him millions of dollars to give the ship to the United States, which also did not work.

The efforts are based on a court ruling which suggested the Iranian ship, and its oil, could be taken in an asset forfeiture case. It does not appear, however, that the military wants to get directly involved in enforcing this, particularly when attacking an Iranian civilian tanker in the Mediterranean Sea would fuel a major backlash.


Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.