The US government has sold the Iranian crude cargo seized from an Empire Navigation tanker seven months after a court order allowing the deal.
Documents filed in the US federal court in Washington DC show that the oil offloaded from the 159,000-dwt tanker Suez Rajan (built 2011) went to an unnamed buyer for a total of $83.4m.
The government spent more than $8.85m on the sale effort, according to the document filed by the office of US attorney Matthew Graves, the federal government’s top lawyer for the court.
That leaves almost $74.7m in net proceeds from the sale of the nearly 977,000 barrels.
An accounting document filed with the court showed the price was based on a weighted average of West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures price of $85.51 per barrel. The costs were made up of a quality and reconfiguration adjustment of $7.33m, as well as operational and risk deductions amounting to more than $1.52m.
The government will hold the cash in an interest-bearing account until legal proceedings are concluded.
The US Justice Department has said that it plans to deposit proceeds from the sale into the US Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund.
The cargo was at the centre of a dispute over its Iranian origin that led to a legal battle that held up the ship for over a year off Singapore before US authorities seized it and brought it to Texas.
The tanker’s owner, Greece’s Empire, ultimately pleaded guilty to charges connected to a ship-to-ship transfer of the oil and agreed to pay a fine of $2.46m.
TradeWinds reported in October that that fine was satisfied by the expenses incurred by the Greek shipping company in cooperating with authorities.
The ship has been renamed St Nikolas.
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