Iranian state media and an Indonesian official collaboratively reported the release of an Iranian flagged tanker that was detained by Indonesia over illegal oil transfer allegations.

After collective efforts by Iran’s Foreign Ministry and Indonesian officials, the tanker MT HORSE was released on Friday. The decision to release the crew came after 125 days, as stated by Wisnu Pramandita (Spokesman, Indonesian Coast Guard) and the National Iranian Tanker Company.

The captain was exempted from paying a fine but has been handed down a two-year probation period, as per the Indonesian spokesman. An Indonesian court went forward and ruled the vessel out of Indonesian waters. Before returning to the Iranian waters, the vessel will complete the mission it was designated within the region.

“Despite many hardships and being away from family, the professional and committed personnel of MT HORSE persevered in defending national interests and maintaining the flow of oil and its derivatives exports,” SHANA, the Iranian oil ministry’s news agency, quoted the tanker company.

A Panamanian-flagged vessel-MT FREYA was also detained, in addition to the MT HORSE for illegal oil transfers as per Indonesian coast guard officials. But, the Iranian foreign ministry turned down the claims, marking it as a “technical issue”. The Indonesian Coast Guard added that it is a common scenario in maritime security.

In April, Mohammad Javad Zarif (Foreign Minister, Iran) met with several senior officials of Iran in Indonesia. Joko Widodo (President, Indonesia) was one of them. The talks were about enhancing their bilateral ties, with no mention of the vessel by the Foreign Ministry.

Tehran has been accused of disabling trackers on tankers, which allows the US to know the destinations of oil transfer, under the US sanctions on oil exports by Iran.

Previously too, MT HORSE was used to transfer 2.1 million barrels of crude oil to Venezuela, which too has been subjected to sanctions like Iran.

Posted in Maritime Security by Ankur Kundu on Jun 01, 2021 at 07:00.