Indonesia seizes two tankers in its waters

Boat Waters Kalimantan Indonesia
Pictured is a boat traversing the waters off Kalimantan in Indonesia, where the two ships were seized. 61 crew members from both vessels have also been detained. Image Courtesy - Mutia Rahmah, Unsplash.

The seized tankers carried flags of Iran and Panama, respectively.

Publisert Sist oppdatert

By Vikram Malik, Maritime Direct India Correspondent

Indonesian Coast Guard has seized two oil tankers in waters off its Kalimantan province, over alleged illegal oil transfers. While the Panama-flagged MT Freya is known to be empty, the Iran-flagged MT Horse is said to be laden with 280,000 MT of crude. After the seizure, both tankers were escorted to Indonesia’s Batam island.

Besides the alleged illegal oil transfers, the ships have committed several other transgressions. Firstly, they had switched off their AIS or Automatic Identification System; Indonesian law mandates keeping this system on while transiting its waters. Both vessels also failed to display their respective national flags. They did not respond to radio calls made to them either. Finally, an oil spill has been detected around the MT Freya.

Speculation is rife that Iran has frequently indulged in illegal STS or Ship-to-Ship oil transfers, in the wake of crippling US sanctions imposed on the country which have hindered its crucial oil exports. Alongside, this is also being looked at as retaliatory action taken by Indonesia, in the wake of Iran’s seizure of the South Korean chemical tanker MT Hankuk Chemi earlier this month, which had several Indonesian nationals onboard.

The video below showcases action taken by Indonesian authorities in the wake of the seizure:

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