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Iran detains Gulf vessel over fuel-smuggling to UAE, says Iranian media

11 crew members detained by Revolutionary Guard Corps near Greater Tunb island over alleged smuggling of diesel fuel, Iranian state media reports
An Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps patrol ship, pictured in the Gulf in December 2018 (Reuters)

A ship allegedly smuggling diesel fuel to the United Arab Emirates from Iran has been detained by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps naval forces, Iranian media reported on Monday.

The vessel was detained near Greater Tunb island in the Gulf, carrying 250,000 litres of fuel, the ISNA news agency said.

The ship's 11 crew were handed over to authorities in Iran's southern Hormozgan province, Iranian state television reported, citing an IRGC official.

"This boat was sailing from Bandar Lengeh [in Hormozgan] towards United Arab Emirates waters before it was seized 20 miles (32 kilometres) east of Greater Tunb island," Brigadier General Ali Ozmayi was quoted as saying.

No further details about the vessel have been released.

Maritime traffic through the Straits of Hormuz, a key waterway for oil tankers and other shipping, has been affected by growing tensions between Iran and the US and its main Gulf allies, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Iran is currently holding a British-registered tanker, the Stena Impero, which it accused of "violating international maritime rules" when it was detained in July.

That followed the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker, the Grace 1, by authorities in the British territory of Gibraltar on suspicion of violating EU sanctions against Syria.

The ship, which was subsequently released and renamed the Adrian Darya 1, was last seen earlier this month off the coast of Syria where it was reported to have unloaded its cargo.