A tanker carrying Iranian fuel seized by the US discharged in New York on Thursday, according to vessel tracking data. The Singapore-flagged Maersk Progress unloaded 557,000 barrels of gasoline.
In July, the US seized an estimated 1.1 million barrels of Iranian fuel on four privately owned tankers that were bound for Venezuela. That fuel was then transferred to two tankers, the Maersk Progress and the Euroforce, which has been off the coast of Houston since September 9th.
It is not clear exactly how the US seized the fuel shipments. With US sanctions on Venezuela specifically targeting the maritime industry, it is possible the shipowners were threatened with the loss of registration or insurance, which could have been enough for them to comply and sail to a US port.
Iran and Venezuela are natural trading partners since both are under heavy US sanctions. Venezuela is facing a dire gasoline shortage due to the economic blockade imposed by the US, and Iran has plenty of fuel to sell. The two countries continue to trade and skirt US sanctions.
Earlier this week, a convoy of three Iranian tankers arrived in Venezuelan waters. Iran confirmed it received gold bars from Venezuela as payment for the shipments.