Iran’s foreign ministry said it had requested more information from Indonesia about its tanker, which has been accused of illegally transferring oil.
Tehran, Iran – Iran on Monday asked the Indonesian government for more information on the seizure of one of its tankers accused of illegally transferring oil.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Iran had heard “conflicting” details about the seizure of its vessel MT Horse on Sunday and was asking Jakarta for clarification.
“But it’s a technical problem and this sort of thing is known to happen in shipping,” he told reporters at a press conference in the capital, Tehran.
Khatibzadeh said the Iranian Port and Maritime Organization and the country’s embassy in Indonesia are monitoring the matter and more information will be released when it becomes clear.
The Indonesian Coast Guard seized the Iranian-flagged MT Horse and the Panamanian-flagged MT Freya in its waters for suspected illegal transport of oil.
He said the ships withheld their identity by not showing their flags, turned off their transponders and did not respond to a radio call.
Under the radar
The seizure of the tanker comes weeks after Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized a South Korean tanker in its waters for “environmental pollution.”
Iran has rejected claims that the seizure of the South Korean vessel was estimated at more than $ 7 billion in Iranian funds frozen by Seoul, saying the problem was of a “technical” nature.
Iran, which faces stiff US sanctions that target primarily its oil exports, has reportedly driven oil sales under the radar by disabling tracking systems.
Last year, Iran used the MT Horse to send 2.1 million barrels of condensate to its compatriot Venezuelan sanctioned by the United States.
Earlier this week, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said “Iran’s oil exports and its access to oil money have increased dramatically,” without giving further details.
His remarks came days after Joe Biden was sworn in as the new President of the United States.
Biden has expressed interest in bringing his country back to a 2015 nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers that curbed Iran’s nuclear activity in return for sanctions relief. His predecessor Donald Trump had withdrawn the United States from the agreement in 2018.