Tanker seized in Indonesia released: Iran broadcaster

A photo from March 27, 2018, shows Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas berthed at a port in Malaga, Spain. PHOTO: REUTERS

IRAN (REUTERS) - An Iranian-flagged tanker seized by Indonesia in January has been released, an Indonesian official and Iranian state media said on Saturday (May 29).

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 said at the time that its coast guard had seized MT Horse over the suspected illegal transfer of oil in the country's waters.

However, the Iranian foreign ministry said the action 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 Jan 24, was released on Friday," state broadcaster Seda va Sima said. "This vessel has now resumed its mission before returning to the country's waters," it added, without giving further details.

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."

Iran, which is under harsh United States 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 MT Horse to deliver 2.1 million barrels of condensate to fellow US-sanctioned Venezuela.

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