oil tanker
Still image from video taken by a US Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft shows the oil tanker United Kalavyrta Reuters/US Coast Guard

Turkey's energy minister has said exports of Iraqi Kurdish crude oil are ongoing from the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, which has already seen 6.5 million barrels of oil shipped out since May.

A seventh oil tanker was being loaded at the port, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Monday, while crude flow on the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline had stopped on Monday for maintenance repairs.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has been involved in a long-running dispute with Baghdad over its right to export oil independently of the capital. Both sides insist that the Iraqi constitution gives them the right to export oil produced in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Baghdad has launched legal action against Turkey and also threatened legal and diplomatic action against any buyers of Kurdish crude oil, which it says has been smuggled out of the country illegally.

While buyers were initially reluctant to purchase the shipments, an increasing number of cargoes have been sold in recent weeks.

A tanker carrying crude from Iraqi Kurdistan arrived at Croatia's Adriatic sea port of Omisalj on Sunday, in what was reported as the fourth major sale of Kurdish crude.

"A tanker with 80,000 cubic metres of crude oil arrived at the Omisalj terminal and it should be unloaded on Sunday," Reuters reported, citing a report in local media.

Meanwhile, two tankers remain stranded off the US coast, awaiting a US decision about their controversial cargo. The US has prohibited direct purchases of Kurdish oil.