Iran Asks More Information of Indonesia Regarding the Confiscation of Its Tanker

MT Frea with the Panamanian flag, left, and the tanker MT with the Iranian flag seen anchoring in Pontianak waters off the coast of the island of Borneo (photo: Bakamla RI)

Tehran, MINA- Iran requested more information from the Indonesian government on Monday, regarding the seizure of one of its fuel tankers accused of illegally transferring oil.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Iran had heard an explanation of the reasons for the seizure of the MT Horse on Sunday, but he said the details were contradictory and was seeking clarification from Jakarta.

“But this is a technical problem and this kind of thing has been known to happen in shipping,” he told reporters during a press conference in the Iranian capital, Tehran, as quoted by Aljazeera on Tuesday.

Khatibzadeh said the Iranian Port and Maritime Organization and the Indonesian Embassy were following up on the matter and further information would be announced when it was clear.

The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla) confiscated MT Horse with Iranian flag and MT Freya with Panama flag in its waters because it was suspected of carrying out illegal fuel oil (BBM) transfers.

It said the vessels had hidden their identities by showing no flags, had turned off their transponders and had not responded to radio calls.

The tanker’s seizure came weeks after Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized a South Korean tanker in its waters for “environmental pollution”.

Iran has rejected claims for the seizure of the South Korean ship worth more than $ 7 billion in Iranian funds frozen by Seoul, saying the matter was “technical”.

Iran is under harsh the US sanctions which mainly target its oil exports, said to be carrying out an under-the-radar sale of oil by deactivating its tracking system.

Last year, Iran used the MT Horse to deliver 2.1 million barrels of condensate to fellow Venezuelans subject to US sanctions.

Earlier this week, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said “Iran’s oil exports and its access to oil money have increased significantly” without elaborating.

His remarks came days after Joe Biden was sworn in as the new US president.

Biden has expressed interest in bringing his country back to the 2015 nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers that curbs Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for lifting sanctions. (T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)