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Iran's IRGC claims to seize 2 oil tankers in Gulf

Iran claims to have captured two foreign oil tankers in the Persian Gulf carrying smuggled fuel and arrested their crews.
An Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboat cruises past an oil tanker off the port of Bandar Abbas, southern Iran, on July 2, 2012. Iran has come up with several methods to foil the European insurance embargo on ships loaded with its crude, a sanction which may harm its vital exports as much as the EU oil embargo itself. AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP/GettyImages)

Iran has seized two foreign oil tankers, its state media reported on Friday, as tensions between the United States and the Islamic Republic in the Gulf continue.

The official Islamic Republic News Agency reported that the navy of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps announced Thursday it had captured two foreign oil tankers in the Persian Gulf that were carrying 400,000 gallons of smuggled fuel. The tankers, the Steven and the Crown, and were flying under the flags of Panama and Tanzania, IRNA reported. Both ships' crews, 37 people in total, were arrested. 

Al-Monitor was unable to find ships matching their description in shipping databases.

Why it matters: Iran has seized several tankers in recent months for alleged smuggling activities. In July, the IRGC seized a ship it said was smuggling fuel in the Persian Gulf. The same month, the US Navy said it thwarted attempts by Iran to seize two commercial tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

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