US Offered Millions of Dollars to Captain of Iranian Tanker to Enable Seizure

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( — September 8, 2019) — The US State Department has offered millions of dollars to the captain of an Iranian tanker to enter waters where the United States Navy could seize the ship, the Financial Times (FT) reported.

The FT states that US Special Envoy for Iran Brian Hook directly sent e-mails to the captain of the Iranian ship, Akhilesh Kumar, who is an Indian citizen. Kumar operated an Iranian tanker seized by the British navy in Gibraltar in early July and released in mid-August by a court ruling in Gibraltar.

“This is Brian Hook… I work for secretary of state Mike Pompeo and serve as the US representative for Iran” Mr Hook wrote to mr Kumar, adding that he brings “good news.”

The “good news” that mr Hook gave the Iranian Tanker captain was apparently for him to get rich by pooling a scam. Hook offered mr Kumar millions of US dollars if he steered his ship into waters where the US forces could seize it.

The captain who is actually of Indian origin did not respond to this email, so Hook sent another that was had a threatening tone in which Hook said that he has to choose between a good life and “harder” pressure. The captain of the Iranian tanker did not respond to that message either.

The State Department confirmed that the tanker captain was offered money.

On July 4, the British Navy seized the Iranian tanker, “Grace1”, sailing under the Panama flag in Gibraltar. The tanker was seized on charges of transporting oil to Syria, thus violating international sanctions.

Despite US complaints and extradition requests, the Iranian tanker and its crew were released on 15 August by a court ruling in Gibraltar. The tanker quickly left Gibraltar, but with the flag of Iran displayed and named “Adrian Darya-1”.

The tanker is sailing with 2.1 million barrels of crude oil and has so far failed to find a safe harbor to dock, and two days ago the crew shut off the automatic tracking and presentation system near Syria. Iran has not revealed where the tanker is headed, nor who is the buyer of the oil.