Ownership Dispute Strands Tanker Off Galveston

HOUSTON (August 10, 2014) A question about ownership has kept a tanker loaded with 1 million barrels of Iraqi crude oil anchored and waiting about 60 miles off the Galveston coast for nearly two weeks.

The United Kalavryta arrived July 26 with crude oil produced in the semiautonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan, but the Kurdish government and the Iraqi state government both claim ownership of the oil from that region, so Iraq's state government alleges the tanker's cargo was stolen.

A federal magistrate in Houston ordered U.S. marshals to seize any oil that's offloaded into smaller vessels for delivery ashore, so the ship's cargo is believed to remain completely intact.

The Kurdish government has asked a federal judge to rescind the owner.

Iraq has 10 days to respond.

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