Indonesia seizes Iranian-Panamanian tankers suspected of violating law

Indonesia seizes Iranian-Panamanian tankers suspected of violating law

Iranian-flagged and Panamanian-flagged tankers seized by Indonesian authorities in the waters off Pontianak, West Kalimantan, on Jan 25, 2021. (ANTARA FOTO/HO/Bakamla/mrh/hp)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla) seized Iranian- and Panamanian-flagged tankers for allegedly violating international law.

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry's spokesman, Teuku Faizasyah, here on Tuesday acknowledged the seizure of an Iranian tanker MT Horse and Panamanian-flagged tanker MT Freya.

"Currently, further investigations are being conducted to get a more complete picture of the committed violations," Faizasyah noted via text message to ANTARA.

The two tankers were seized in the waters off Pontianak, West Kalimantan, on Sunday (Jan 24), after being monitored by the KN Marore-322 radar. During that time, KN-Marore was conducting domestic maritime security and safety operations.

The ministry's spokesman steered clear of divulging details on whether the two ships were seized for allegedly conducting illegal transfer of fuel oil.

"I cannot comment on it because the investigation is still ongoing," he remarked.

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On the other hand, the Iranian government has urged Indonesia to tender an explanation pertaining to the seizure of tankers. Iranian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, revealed that the seizure was conducted over “a technical issue and it happens in the shipping field,”

“Our Ports Organization and the ship owner company are looking to probe the cause of the issue and resolve it,” Khatibzadeh stated at a televised weekly news conference.

Iran has been accused of concealing the destination of its oil sales by shutting off identification systems on its tankers, thereby making it difficult to assess how much crude Tehran exports, as it seeks to counter US sanctions. Iran sent the MT Horse vessel to Venezuela last year to deliver 2.1 million barrels of Iranian condensate. (INE)

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