Kurdish Tanker Carrying $100 Million in Oil Disappears From Radar Off Texas Coast
|August 30, 2014||Filled under Iraq Daily News|
Iraq Daily News -
Iraq asked the U.S. to seize the Kurdish-exported oil as soon as the ship made landfall in Galveston — an order courts denied because the ship was too far off the state’s coast
A Kurdish tanker loaded with $100 million worth of oil vanished off Texas’ coast Thursday.
Radar systems showed no signs of the United Kalavrvta cargo ship, which has been at the center of a long legal battle between Iraq‘s government and the country’s Kurdish region.
The ship, which was 95% full and carrying 1 million barrels of disputed crude, was on its way to Galveston when it mysteriously went dark Thursday night. Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan each claim the oil onboard as its own.
Baghdad — which claims to have the exclusive right to export crude oil from Iraq — filed a lawsuit in American courts demanding U.S. Marshals seize the oil when it reaches Galveston.
The Kurdish Regional Government, Iraq claimed, has no right to control crude. The Kurds say exporting oil is crucial to the region’s financial stability and their goals of eventual independence, the Washington Post reported.
On Monday, a U.S. court threw the order out, claiming it lacked control over a ship more than 60 miles off American shores.
The Kurdish tanker has been anchored at least 60 miles off the shore of Texas since the start of the legal fight.
It’s common for ships carrying disputed crude to go dark while they offload shipments. Without functioning transponders, the ships’ movements are hard to track.
Earlier this week, a partially full tanker carrying Kurdish crude disappeared from satellite tracking north of Egypt. It reappeared empty two days later near Israel.
It’s unclear if the United Kalavrvta voluntarily switched off its transmitter.
A U.S. Coast Guard official said it could have also sailed beyond the reach of antennas that monitor transponders or simply be experiencing technical difficulties.
On Thursday, dozens of vessels were visible in the Galveston Offshore Lightering Area where the Kurdish tanker was last seen.
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