Iranian-flagged MT Horse and Panamanian-flagged MT Frea, rear, tankers are seen anchored together in Pontianak waters off Borneo island, Indonesia, on Jan. 24, 2021. (AP)

May 29, 2021

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 on Saturday.

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 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 shipping field”.

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

Tehran, under harsh U.S. 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 U.S.-sanctioned Venezuela.

Reuters

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.