UPDATE 2: Kurdish Crude Tanker Reappears. Still Not Unloaded.
The tanker United Kalavrvta (formerly SCF BYRRANGA) carrying one million barrels of Kurdish oil, which disappeared from satellite tracking, has reappeared on Monday, however the tanker hasn’t unloaded its cargo, according to Reuters.
The ship, which got cleared for unloading of one million of barrels of Kurdish oil it was carrying last week, was believed to had switched off its transponder, making it difficult to be tracked, all with the aim of unloading its cargo behind the screens.
Reuters said that, based on AIS ship tracking data used by the U.S. Coast Guard the United Kalavrvta hasn’t moved from its last known position in the Galveston Offshore Lightering Area and was still 95 percent full.
Several other tankers carrying Kurdish oil have managed to unload their disputed cargoes by switching off their transponders, thus making them invisible to tracking systems.
U.S. District Judge Gray Miller in Houston, Texas threw out a court order requiring federal agents to seize and hold USD 100 million worth of crude oil sent by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
Judge Miller said that federal laws governing property stolen at sea do not grant him the authority to decide the dispute between the KRG and the Iraqi Oil Ministry, both laying claim to the cargo.
According to the ruling, Iraqi Oil Ministry had lost control over the crude during the Kurdish government’s unauthorised pumping from Iraq’s northern oilfields.
Miller scrapped a seizure order issued by a Houston magistrate judge on July 28, who agreed to store the disputed cargo onshore at Iraq’s expense as the case reached the nation’s Supreme Court.
World Maritime News Staff