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Iran Says it Had Court Order to Seize Chevron Tanker

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

July 6, 2023

Richmond Voyager  - Credit: Kelly Conner

Richmond Voyager - Credit: Kelly Conner

Iran said on Thursday it had a court order to seize a tanker in Gulf waters a day earlier after it collided with an Iranian vessel, one of two tankers the U.S. Navy said it prevented Iran from commandeering. 

The Richmond Voyager, a Bahamas-flagged oil tanker, had collided with an Iranian vessel, and the Iranian navy had a court order to seize it, the Maritime Search and Rescue Center of Iran's Hormozgan Province told the official IRINN news agency. 

The U.S. Navy said it sent guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul to respond to a distress call from the Richmond Voyager off the coast of Oman in international waters. It said Iranian authorities had asked the tanker to stop and had fired shots but the Iranian navy vessel departed when McFaul arrived.

Iran said the Richmond Voyager's collision with an Iranian ship carrying seven crew members had injured five people and caused flooding on board, and that the tanker had not stopped after the incident. 

The Iranian ship's owner then requested the tanker be seized, IRINN said. U.S. oil company Chevron, which manages the Richmond Voyager, said its crew was safe and the vessel was operating normally. 

The U.S. Navy had earlier responded to an incident involving the Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker TRF Moss in the same region. Iran seized two oil tankers in a week just over a month ago, the U.S. Navy said. Since 2019, there has been a series of attacks on shipping in strategic Gulf waters at times of tension between the United States and Iran. 

About a fifth of the world's supply of seaborne crude oil and oil products passes through the Strait of Hormuz, a chokepoint between Iran and Oman, according to data from analytics firm Vortexa. 

(Reuters - Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; Writing by Lisa Barrington; editing by Tom Hogue and Jason Neely)


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