The vessel left the Turkish sea port of Ceyhan loaded with crude oil offloaded from storage facilities housing Kurdish crude oil. Kurdish oil shipments have sparked outrage from the federal Iraqi government in Baghdad, which says unilateral exports violate the nation's constitution.
The semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government has defended the sales, though the U.S. State Department said it sided with Baghdad on oil export issues.
"We believe that Iraq's energy resources belong to the Iraqi people and certainly have long stated that [exports] need to go through the central government," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said during her Monday press briefing.
The Iraqi government filed a case in a U.S. court in Texas challenging the offloading. The U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas in Galveston ordered U.S. Marshals to seize the oil until the legal issues are resolved.
Neither company involved in the Kurdish oil transaction has issued statements or comments related to the legal issue.