Kurdish tanker carrying $100m cargo reappears in Texas
A tanker carrying disputed Iraqi Kurdish crude oil has reappeared on satellite tracking on Monday near Texas, days after it went missing US$100 million worth of cargo.
Reuters reports that latest vessel data showed it had not offloaded at sea.
According to AIS ship tracking data used by the U.S. Coast Guard and Reuters, the United Kalavrvta, which has been in limbo for weeks, was still 95 per cent full.
A U.S. buyer appears to have decided against taking delivery of the cargo after Baghdad filed a lawsuit in a U.S. court saying exports by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) are illegal. The KRG argues they are allowed under the Iraqi constitution.
The vessel was anchored on Monday in the Galveston Offshore Lightering Area, essentially unmoved from its previously known position.
Vessels such as the 159,200-dwt United Kalavrvta (built-2005), which are too big to enter ports near Houston, use the lightering area to transfer their cargoes to smaller ships before delivery.
Baghdad has made clear it could file more legal challenges to regain control of the cargo if it comes ashore.
Several other tankers carrying crude from Iran or Iraqi Kurdistan have in the past unloaded cargoes after switching off their transponders, which makes their movements hard to track.