The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker St Nikolas (IMO 9524475) seized by Iran’s IRGC in the Gulf of Oman early on Thursday January 11th has been located east of Iran’s Qeshm Island, reports TankerTrackers.com
Iran seized the St Nikolas, loaded with Iraqi crude destined for Turkey, in retaliation for the confiscation last year of the same vessel and its Iranian oil cargo by the United States, Iranian state media reported.
TankerTrackers.com observed that the vessel’s AIS had been turned off.
Empire Navigation, the vessel’s operator, said that the vessel was loaded with 145,000 tonnes of crude oil and was carrying 18 Filipinos and one Greek citizen as crew. The St Nikolas was formerly known as the Suez Rajan.
The crewmembers of the tanker were safe and unharmed, operator Empire Navigation said in a statement over the weekend.
The firm has been in contact with Iranian authorities and has received assurances that the crew are being looked after properly.
The Suez Rajan, as it then was known, was seized by the US Department of Justice in April 2023 while it was en route to China In April 2023. It had been transferring oil off Singapore. It arrived offshore of Galveston, Texas, on May 29th, having been ordered to redirect to the US. The oil on board was eventually extracted, and Iran has avowed revenge for what it described as piracy.
2011-built, Marshall Islands-flagged, 81,282 gt St Nikolas is owned by St Nikolas Maritime Ltd care of manager Empire Navigation Inc of Athens, Greece. It is entered with UK Club on behalf of St Nikolas Maritime Ltd.