HOUSTON, Sept 1 A tanker carrying disputed Iraqi
Kurdish crude oil reappeared on satellite tracking on Monday
near Texas, days after having gone silent with a $100 million
cargo, but the latest vessel data showed it had not offloaded at
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 percent full.
Its would-be U.S. buyer has balked at taking delivery of the
cargo, and Baghdad has 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
Vessels such as the United Kalavrvta, 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.
The partially full Kamari tanker carrying Kurdish crude
disappeared from satellite tracking north of Egypt's Sinai about
a week ago. It reappeared empty two days later near Israel.
And in July, the tanker United Emblem offloaded part of its
cargo of Kurdish crude onto another ship in the South China Sea.
The U.S. suit shows Baghdad is stepping up a legal and
diplomatic push to stop Kurdistan from exporting crude, which
the Kurds say is crucial to their dreams of independence from
(Reporting By Terry Wade; editing by Jane Baird)