Judge Says U.S. Can't Seize Kurdish Crude for Now


A high-stakes dispute over a tanker carrying $100 million in Iraqi Kurdish crude took a surprising turn Tuesday when a U.S. judge said she lacked jurisdiction given the ship's distance from the Texas shore and urged that the case be settled in Iraq. Federal magistrate Nancy K. Johnson said that because the tanker was some 60 miles offshore, and outside territorial waters, an order she issued late Monday for U.S. Marshals to seize the cargo could not be enforced. She said the dispute between Iraq's central government and the autonomous region of Kurdistan should be resolved in Iraq. Overnight Johnson signed an order directing the marshals to seize the 1 million barrels of crude from the United Kalavrvta tanker anchored in the Gulf of Mexico. Tuesday she scheduled a conference to give the two sides a chance to state their case. Baghdad's lawyers had laid claim to the oil in a lawsuit filed Monday, saying Kurdistan sold the crude without permission from the central government.


- Reuters