Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) have seized a foreign vessel in the Persian Gulf for smuggling 200,000 liters of fuel, a senior Guards commander said Sunday.
"The ship was seized in the northern part of the Persian Gulf. Its eight crew have been handed over to legal authorities in the southern port city of Bushehr," Gholamhossein Hosseini told Fars news agency affiliated with the IRGC, without elaborating on the nationalities of the crew members.
The IRGC has announced several similar fuel seizures this month, but they have not provided information about the port of origin or the destination of the cargoes. The powerful Guards control most of Iran’s ports through their military and intelligence presence.
It is not clear why seizures or claims of seizures have increased in recent weeks.
Iran, which has some of the world's cheapest fuel prices due to heavy subsidies and the plunge in value of its national currency, has been fighting small-scale fuel smuggling by land to neighboring countries and by sea to Persian Gulf Arab states.
The volumes seized from ships are relatively small in comparison to average oil tanker capacity. The vessels are usually small vessels conducting local trade in the Persian Gulf.