The US military said Thursday that Iran seized a Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker, the Advantage Sweet, that was bound for Texas. According to Iranian media, the ship was seized after it collided with an Iranian fishing vessel.
“The oil tanker issued a distress call during the seizure,” the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet said in a statement. “Iran’s actions are contrary to international law and disruptive to regional security and stability. Iran should immediately release the oil tanker.”
According to Iran’s PressTV, the Iranian Navy “has seized a Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker in the Sea of Oman and directed it toward the country’s territorial waters after the ship hit an Iranian vessel and tried to flee in violation of maritime regulations.”
The ship’s owner, Advantage Tankers, said they knew the ship was seized but were not aware of a collision. “The safety and welfare of our valued crew members is our number one priority,” the company said in a statement. “Similar experiences show that crew members of vessels taken under such circumstances are in no danger.”
The US has a history of seizing vessels carrying Iranian oil and gas using sanctions enforcement as a pretext. In 2021, the US government sold 2 million barrels of Iranian oil for $110 million from a tanker seized near the UAE. During the Trump administration, the US sold off Iranian gas that was bound for Venezuela.