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Hijacked oil tanker taken to Iran, claims UN

TEHRAN, IRAN – MARCH 12: A general view of the Port of Kharg Island Oil Terminal, in the Persian Gulf on March 12, 2017. Kharg Island Oil Terminal brings Iranian oil to the world market. The oil terminal is the world’s largest open oil terminal, with 95% of Iran’s crude oil exports coming through it. ( Fatemeh Bahrami – Anadolu Agency )
The Persian Gulf on 12 March 2017 [Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency]

The oil tanker MT Gulf Sky, which was said to have been hijacked earlier this month off the UAE coast as it was allegedly trying to smuggle Iranian oil, is now in Iran, the UN's International Labour Organisation (ILO) said on Sunday. The vessel is still being sought by the US.

According to the ILO, the Gulf Sky was taken to Iran where all 28 Indian crew members disembarked. Most of the crew flew from Tehran to India on 15 July. Two of them did not have passports and are still in Iran.

According to Al Jazeera, the UN agency said earlier that the tanker and its crew had been abandoned by its owners without pay since March off Khor Fakkan, a city on the eastern coast of the UAE. American officials have been trying to trace the vessel as it is believed to have been breaking US sanctions on Iran. Neither Washington nor Tehran have commented on this.

The MT Gulf Sky has a troubled past. In May, two Iranians were charged by the US Justice Department of money laundering through a number of front companies. They were said to have been trying to put together $12 million to buy the tanker, which was then called MT Nautica.

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