Indonesia releases seized Iranian tanker after four months

Iranian ship was seized because of the suspected illegal transfer of oil in Indonesian waters.

Tehran, Iran – Iran says Indonesia has released its oil tanker that it seized in late January after court processions concluded.

The National Iranian Tanker Company said in a statement that MT Horse and its crew were released on Friday after 125 days as efforts by senior Iranian officials and the country’s foreign ministry paid off.

“Despite undergoing many hardships and being away from family, the professional and committed personnel of MT Horse persevered in defence of national interests and maintaining the flow of oil and its derivatives’ exports,” the state-run company said.

The vessel has now resumed its mission in the region and will return to Iranian waters upon finishing it, it added.

Indonesia said its coast guard seized the Iranian-flagged vessel, in addition to the Panamanian-flagged MT Freya, over the suspected illegal transfer of oil in its waters.

Iran’s foreign ministry at the time downplayed the seizure, saying it was over a “technical issue” and such incidents are not uncommon in shipping.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif travelled to Indonesia in April and met with senior officials, including President Joko Widodo. But after the meeting, he and the foreign ministry made no mention of the vessel, saying they talked about boosting bilateral ties and opposing unilateral United States sanctions on Iran.

A main target of the harsh US sanctions is Iranian oil exports, and Iran conceals its transfers using a variety of methods, which include disabling tracking systems on its tankers.

The MT Horse was used last year to deliver 2.1 million barrels of condensate to fellow US-sanctioned Venezuela.



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