Iranian crude tanker and a Panamanian vessel that were suspected of carrying out illegal ship-to-ship (STS) oil transfers in Indonesian waters have been seized and escorted to Batam island for further investigations, reports Reuters.
MT Horse, an Iranian-flagged very-large crude carrier (VLCC), and Panama-flagged VLCC MT Freya, were seized off West Kalimantan province in the Indonesian part of Borneo on Sunday, 24 January.
MT Horse is owned by the National Iranian Tanker Company and MT Freya is reportedly managed by Shanghai Future Ship Management Co, and had a total of 61 crew members onboard.
Purportedly, some crew were allowed to remain on the vessels while others were detained by coast guards for questioning.
The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency said the two vessels were caught performing ship-to-ship transfers with cloths covering the names of the vessel, with the (automatic identification systems) AIS turned off and the MT Freya had an oil spill.
Iran has reportedly been accused of utilising unconventional methods to sell its oil to evade U.S. sanctions like conducting oil shipments with state-owned vessels that turn off their AIS transmitters.
Photo credit: Marine Traffic / Vladimir Smirnov
Published: 27 January, 2021
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