Iran seizes vessel 'smuggling diesel fuel' to UAE

16 September 2019, 12:51 | Updated: 16 September 2019, 16:16

Iran has seized a vessel in the Gulf for allegedly smuggling diesel fuel to the United Arab Emirates, an Iranian news agency has reported.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards have intercepted a vessel reportedly carrying 250,000 litres of fuel, according to the semi-official Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA).

"It was detained near Iran's Greater Tunb island in the Persian Gulf... the crew have been handed over to legal authorities in the southern Hormozgan province," ISNA said.

The agency did not disclose the crew's nationalities.

The reported seizure comes after Iran was blamed for a drone attack that significantly damaged oil facilities in Saudi Arabia and following a tit-for-tat seizure of oil tankers in previous months.

Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition, of which the UAE is a key player, in a war against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. It is sometimes described as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Earlier this month, satellite images showed the Adrian Darya-1 oil tanker (formerly known as Grace 1), docked near Syria.

The tanker had previously been held by the British Royal Marines off Gibraltar for several weeks back in July over concerns it would break sanctions on Syria by delivering oil to the country.

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Iran retaliated by detaining the British-flagged Stena Impero in the Gulf.