Iran calls piracy oil seizures demanding Greece respect maritime law

Iran protests saying Greece is not respecting international maritime law (file photo)

Posted on May 26, 2022 6:21 PM by

The Maritime Executive

Iran is strongly protesting the seizure of crude oil cargo from a tanker anchored in Greece, now calling the shadowy tanker an ‘Iranian ship’ despite previous reports that the tanker belonged to a Russian shipping company and until May 1 was registered in Russia. . Iran’s Maritime and Port Organization calls Greece’s actions in support of the US oil seizure “an act of piracy” while demanding that the Greek government fulfill its international obligations under maritime law.

As reported earlier this week, the United States ended the incident that began nearly seven weeks ago by winning a order to seize the cargo of 700,000 barrels of crude aboard the dark tanker. Saved as pegas and flying the Russian flag, the ship is anchored off the Greek island of Euboea. Greek authorities initially detained the vessel due to EU sanctions linked to Ukraine, but later said the vessel would be released. An Iranian watchdog group, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), however, drew attention to the ship saying it was loaded with Iranian crude. The United States had listed the 115,520 dwt tanker on previous sanctions against Iranian oil trade and decided to seize the cargo on those grounds.

“Unfortunately, no cooperation or assistance was provided to the ship by the Greek authorities, while the military forces of this country proceeded to unload the cargo, which can be interpreted as a striking example of piracy,” they said. the Iranians in the statement. published today.

While acknowledging the mechanical problems that forced the tanker to anchor in Greece, they accuse the Greek government of “stopping an Iranian ship from sailing”, and despite repeated requests, the statement says Greece “acted in full violation and negligence”. international regulations to provide assistance to help the ship eliminate hazards and prevent potential pollution, including during a ship-to-ship transfer of cargo.

AIS signals show the two tankers side by side at anchor off the Greek island of Evia (courtesy Marine Traffic)

“While Greece has undertaken such international obligations and is responsible towards the Islamic Republic of Iran as a member state of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), such unacceptable measures have unfortunately been taken by the Greek government towards a ship that needs to be transferred to a safe place, encountering technical problems and facing bad weather conditions”.

The statement does not acknowledge that the vessel was flying the Russian flag until May 1. The Hellenic Coast Guard issued the order to detain the vessel on April 18, citing multiple shortcomings after a port state inspection.

Iranian news agency IRNA also reported that the charge d’affaires of the Greek Embassy in Iran in the absence of the ambassador was summoned to the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday. He said Iran’s Foreign Ministry called the actions “international piracy”.

The United States and Greece have released no official comment on the situation, but AIS tracking data continues to show a Liberian-flagged tanker, ice energyalongside the lanathe new name being used by the old Pegas. Two ocean-going tugs flying the Greek flag are also positioned near the two tankers. Lloyd’s reported that the United States chartered the second tanker partly because of mechanical problems aboard the lana. The ice energy is expected to transport the crude oil to the United States once the ship-to-ship transfer is complete.