Seized Iranian tanker released


Maritime dispute: A file photo showing the tankers ‘MT Frea’ (left) and ‘MT Horse’ anchored in waters off Borneo island. — AP

AN Iranian-flagged tanker seized by Indonesia in January over the suspected illegal transfer of oil has been released, an Indonesian official and Iranian state media said.

Wisnu Pramandita, a spokesman for the Indonesian coastguard, said the Iranian-flagged tanker, the MT Horse, was released on Friday after a court decision earlier in the week.

The court ruled that the vessel could leave Indonesia while the captain would be subject to a two-year probation without any fine, the spokesman said.

Iran’s state broadcaster said the vessel had resumed its mission before returning home.

Jakarta has said it seized the MT Horse over the suspected illegal transfer of oil in Indonesian waters, while Iran’s foreign ministry said the seizure was over “a technical issue and it happens in the shipping field”.

“The MT Horse, belonging to the National Iranian Tanker Company that had been detained in Indonesian waters since Jan 24, was released on Friday, ” said state broadcaster Seda va Sima.

“This vessel has since resumed its mission before returning to the country’s waters.”

Shana, the Iranian oil ministry news agency, quoted the tanker company as saying: “The MT crew, with their sacrifice and firm determination to pursue their mission, safeguarded Iran’s national interest in maintaining the export of its oil and petroleum products.”

Teheran, under harsh US sanctions that mainly target its oil exports, has been accused of concealing the destination of its oil sales by disabling tracking systems on its tankers.

Last year, it used the MT Horse to deliver 2.1 million barrels of condensate to fellow US-sanctioned Venezuela. — Reuters

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