US Orders Seizure of Iraqi Kurdistan's Oil Cargo
MOSCOW, July 29 (RIA Novosti) - A US court has ordered marshals to seize a cargo of oil from Iraqi Kurdistan aboard a tanker off the Texas coast, Reuters reported Tuesday, referring to court filings.
The United Kalavrvta tanker was carrying about 1 million barrels of crude worth some $100 million, and arrived near Galveston Bay on Saturday. As it was too large to enter the port, the ship had to wait till Sunday for the US Coast Guard to give it clearance to transfer its cargo offshore to smaller boats for delivery to the mainland.
However, on Monday, Iraqi government said Kurdistan's sale of oil amounted to smuggling as it was sold without Baghdad's permission.
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday that "the cargo remains on board the ship at this time."
"We believe that Iraq's energy resources belong to the Iraqi people and certainly have long stated that it needs to go through the central government. And as you know, there's an ongoing legal dispute in this case, which is – which obviously is something that we're aware of and we're closely following," Psaki said, adding that US policy has not changed.
Authorities of Iraqi Kurdistan are in conflict with Baghdad over oil exports. In May, a cargo of Kurdish crude was delivered in Houston to an unidentified buyer, and four other cargoes have been delivered so far this year to Israel.
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