Turkey’s TUPRAS confirms contact lost with tanker loaded Iraqi crude oil


Ankara, Jan 12 (IANS) Turkish Petroleum Refineries Corporation (TUPRAS) has confirmed that the tanker seized in the Sea of Oman was carrying oil to Turkey.

TUPRAS said on Thursday in a statement that the Marshall Islands-flagged ship, named “St Nikolas,” is “carrying nearly 140,000 tons of crude oil which we purchased from the Iraqi state oil company SOMO and is on its way from Basra Port to be delivered to our refinery”.

“There is no Turkish crew on the ship, and the issue is being followed up in cooperation with national and international authorities,” the Turkish firm added.

All refinery operations are continuing as planned and the incident has no impact on the refinery operations, it said.

Earlier on Thursday, the British Marine Trade Operations said the communication with their tanker was cut off after four to five masked people boarded near the Gulf of Oman, Xinhua news agency reported.

The ship’s owner, the Greek shipowner Empire Navigation, said that the tanker, which was loaded with oil in Iraq’s Basra port, was heading to Turkey via the Suez Canal. The company announced that the ship was rented by TUPRAS.

Iran’s Navy reported on Thursday the seizure of an American oil tanker in the Sea of Oman, citing retaliation for the US “stealing” of Iran’s oil in April 2023, according to a statement published on the Iranian army’s public relations website.

The statement said the Navy took control of the “St Nikolas” tanker on Thursday morning following a judicial order and confirmation from Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organisation.

The vessel, previously named “Suez Rajan,” had “stolen” an Iranian oil cargo under US guidance last year, the statement said, adding that the Iranian oil was then transferred to US ports and handed over to the US.

The US Justice Department admitted last September that it seized a tanker loaded with Iranian oil in April 2023, identifying it as “Suez Rajan,” a Greek-managed tanker that carried 980,000 barrels of crude oil.



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