US warships intercept Iraqi oil smugglers
United States and other warships in the Gulf intercepted 21 small sailing vessels smuggling oil out of Iraq over the past week, the Pentagon said Wednesday.
Air Force General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Iraqi oil was being loaded onto small sailing vessels known as dhows, in an attempt to evade capture by warships enforcing United Nations sanctions on trade.
"While this is an increase, most of these vessels were dhows, not tankers," he said.
"The owners of tankers have resorted to trying to put the oil on the dhows,
believing that these smaller vessels will have a better chance of sneaking past our maritime interception operations."
Another reason smugglers are using dhows to ship oil out of Iraq is because Iran has kept its coastal waters closed to the illicit traffic, he said, according to AFP. (Albawaba.com)