The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump for the first time seized cargo from ships allegedly loaded with Iranian fuel to the port of Houston, thereby violating sanctions, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing US officials.
“Last month U.S. federal prosecutors filed suit to seize the four tankers of gasoline that Iran was sending to Venezuela. This was the latest step in the Administration’s efforts to stifle flows of goods and money, helping to keep two of its main enemies in power,” the report reads.
It is known that four ships —Luna, Pandi, Bering and Bella— were detained without the use of military force. It is also not specified where exactly the detention took place, and which departments took part in this.
In July, the U.S. prosecutor’s office filed suit for the forfeiture of gasoline aboard four tankers, and subsequently the judge issued an arrest warrant. At the same time, the fuel cannot be withdrawn until the tankers enter the territorial waters of the United States.
“The U.S. government lawsuit alleges that an Iranian businessman associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an elite Iranian military unit identified by the US as a terrorist group, arranged the supply of fuel through a network of shell companies to avoid US sanctions,” the newspaper said.
The order applies only to cargo on board, but not to the tankers themselves.