UAE-Owned Company: US Seized Tanker Does Not Contain Iranian Oil

Shipping company would like its ship full of oil back

The supertanker Achilleas, which the US seized last year and accused of smuggling Iranian oil to China, was actually filled with Iraqi oil exactly as the paperwork claimed, according to new filings from the company that owned the oil and hired the tanker.

The company in question, Fujairah International, is wholly owned by Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed al-Sharqi, the leader of the Fujairah emirate, which is part of the UAE. They contracted to take the oil to China on the Achilleas.

The oil went from ship to ship a few times before getting to Achilleas, and its origin listed it as Basra oil, from Iraq. The US, however, saw it and concluded it was from Iran, and the Revolutionary Guard, and that this meant the US could take it.

Fujairah explained the ship-to-ship transfers as common during the ongoing covid recession, and that a lot of countries are parking oil in ships offshore. This is very true, and they argue that they got the oil legitimately from Iraq, not Iran.

While this is being approached as part of a difficult US-Iran relationship, the signs are this may not be an issue with Iran at all. They insisted from the start it wasn’t their oil, and this might well be the case.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.