February 2, 2021

US seeks forfeiture of Iranian oil in Liberia-flagged tanker

On February 2, 2021, the United States filed a verified complaint for forfeiture in rem against the cargo of the M/T Achilleas.  According to the complaint, the cargo is subject to seizure and forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 981(a)(1)(G)(1) as foreign assets of a designated foreign terrorist organization that has planned or carried out terrorist acts against the US and its citizens.  The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its IRGC-QF branch are alleged to own the cargo. 
As alleged in the complaint, the oil cargo originated from terminals and Iran in May and June 2020, and was transferred surreptitiously from tankers controlled by the National Iranian Tanker Company and the IRGC-QF – organizations designated by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Department of Treasury in 2007, 2012 and 2018 pursuant to Executive Orders  13599 and 13224 – to the M/T Lubov, a Comoros-flagged tanker.  The cargo was then allegedly transferred to a Panamanian-flagged tanker before being re-transferred to the Achilleas in October 2020.  The civil forfeiture complaint approximates the volume of Iranian oil aboard the Achilleas at two million barrels.

DOJ press release | Complaint