- Iran has sought to know why their oil tanker has been seized in allegation of oil transfer
- Iranian foreign ministry called it a technical snag while Indonesia says they were caught red-handed.
- The ships have been involved in previous oil transferring incidents.
- The ship’s crew has allegedly turned off the transponder to conceal the location.
- Now the 61 membered crew is under custody for further investigation.
The recent seizure of an Iranian oil tanker by Indonesia alleging illegal oil transfer has started a diplomatic tussle between the 2 nations and now Iran has sought to know the details as it cries foul.
Iran’s relations with other nations are already in a crossfire since the US imposed sanctions on the country.
Coast Guard Seized 2 Ships
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh on Monday revealed that they have asked Indonesia to provide details about the incident and the alleged violations by the tankers.
This came a day after the tanker was seized by Indonesia. Along with the Iranian tanker MT Horse, a Panama flagged vessel MT Freya was also seized. The 2 vessels were anchored at Pontianak in the West Kalimantan province of Indonesia on January 24.
On January 25, the ships were seized on suspicion of illegal oil transfer by the Indonesian Coast Guard.
Indonesia said on Sunday its coast guard had seized the Iranian-flagged MT Horse and the Panamanian-flagged MT Freya vessels over suspected illegal oil transfer in the country’s waters.
Caught Red Handed
The Iranian spokesperson has termed the incident as “a technical issue that regularly happens in shipping field”.
“Our Ports Organisation and the ship owner company are looking to find the cause of the issue and resolve it,” Khatibzadeh told a televised weekly news conference.
Coast guard spokesman Wisnu Pramandita said, ” the tankers, seized in waters off Kalimantan province, will be escorted to Batam island in Riau Island Province for further investigation”.
Wisnu has refuted Iran’s technical issue comment by providing valuable information on the seizure saying that the ships were told “caught red-handed”.
“61 crew members onboard the vessels were Iranian and Chinese nationals and had been detained”, he added further.
Ships Turned Off Transponders
Both of these ships, which have a carrying capacity of 2 million oil barrels, were last seen in Singapore, a month ago where the Iranian ship was fully loaded by the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) while Panama flagged vessel was empty.
Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh confirmed that the ship was carrying oil and the issue is being followed up by Iran.
The IMO mandates every ship to use transponders but crews sometimes turn them off to conceal ship location and in this case that seems to have happened.
“The tankers, first detected at 5:30 a.m. local time (2130 GMT on Jan. 23) concealed their identity by not showing their national flags, turning off automatic identification systems, and did not respond to a radio call,” Wisnu said.
Involved in Selling Crude Cargo Recently
Previously Iran has been accused of selling oils illegally by turning off-ship locations after the US imposed sanctions.
The alleged Iranian tanker MT Horse has delivered 2.1 million oil barrels to Venezuela last year while the Panamanian vessel MT Freya delivered 4 million oil barrels two crude oil cargoes to Qingdao port on the east coast of China and northeast Yingkou port, a few months back. The Qingdao cargo was Upper Zakum crude made by the United Arab Emirates.
Video of Indonesian Coast Guard #Bakamla VBSS team aboard the Iranian Tanker MT Horse
Glad that all sides can communicate properly thus no further unnecessary incident reported
— JATOSINT (@Jatosint) January 25, 2021