US seized fuel from Iranian tankers on their way to Venezuela

For the first time the American authorities confiscated the cargo with fuel from the Iranian tankers that were on their way to Venezuela. This was reported in The Wall Street Journal.

It is noted that the United States intercepted tankers Luna, Pandi, Bering and Bella, which were transporting oil from Iran to Venezuela. According to the newspaper, now the ships are redirected to Houston (Texas).

At the same time, Washington has not resorted to military force when detaining the tankers. However, the details of the seizure of ships are not given. The publication notes that a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice refused to comment.

At the same time, the Associated Press with reference to a high-ranking official reported that the ships were not physically seized. Presumably, the U.S. authorities threatened ship owners, insurers and tanker captains with sanctions to force them to hand over their cargo, which has now become U.S. property.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, four ships were carrying 1.1 million barrels of gas to Venezuela. The tankers never arrived in the South American country. Two of these ships later appeared again near Cape Verde, said the second U.S. official representative.

Iranian Ambassador to Venezuela Hojat Soltani said August 13 that neither the ships nor their owners were Iranian, explains Associated Press.

In early June, the U.S. Treasury Department ordered the expansion of the list of sanctions against Venezuela, which included several companies and tankers to transport crude oil.

Later, on July 2, the Ministry of Finance removed from the sanctions list companies Adamant Maritime, Sanibel Shiptrade, Delos Voyager Shipping and Romina Maritime. Restrictions were also removed from tankers associated with these companies.

In late March, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested the Venezuelan leadership to create an interim government in the country to resolve the crisis and then lift the sanctions.

Caracas opposed this initiative by Washington. Russian Ambassador to Venezuela Sergei Melik-Bagdasarov noted that Moscow does not welcome ultimatums and instruments of political pressure.