Acting on a request from the central government in Iraq, a U.S. judge has signed an order telling the U.S. Marshals Service to seize a cargo of oil from Iraqi Kurdistan aboard a tanker off the coast of Texas, court filings showed early on Tuesday.
To carry out the order from Magistrate Judge Nancy K. Johnson of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, the Marshals Service may need to rely on companies in the Galveston Bay area that provide crude offloading services.
The United Kalavrvta tanker, which is too large to enter the port of Galveston near Houston, was given clearance by the U.S. Coast Guard on Sunday to transfer its cargo offshore to smaller boats that would deliver it to the U.S. mainland.
It is carrying some 1 million barrels of crude worth about $100 million and arrived on the Texas coast on Saturday.
Iraq, in a filing on Monday, laid claim to the cargo that it says was sold without its permission.
The case is Ministry of oil of the Republic of Iraq v. Ministry of Natural Resources of Kurdistan Regional Governate of Iraq et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, No. 3:14-cv-00249
(By Supriya Kurane in Bangalore and Terry Wade in Houston)