India Calls for Release of Detained Ship
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – New Delhi has called on Iran to release an Indian oil tanker detained by Iranian naval forces in the Persian Gulf due to environmental concerns, while it has refused to release an Iranian merchant vessel it has kept for over 18 months.
The state-run Shipping Corp. of India Ltd., which owns the oil tanker, has asked the Iranian authorities to release the detained ship, claiming that it had no role in polluting Iranian territorial waters.
The company further says it has already provided enough evidence to Iranian authorities to prove that its tanker was not responsible for leaving any oil spill in Iranian waters.
It says the tanker was not even carrying any oil when it is said to have discharged oily ballast on July 30.
In early August, Iran detained an Indian oil tanker that was carrying crude oil from Basra in southern Iraq, citing environmental considerations for the move, as the tanker was leaking crude into the sea.
Iran has also demanded that Indian authorities release an Iranian merchant vessel detained 18 months ago,rejecting media reports that Tehran wants to use the Indian tanker as a bargaining chip for the release of its vessel.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the Indian ambassador on Wednesday to voice the deep concern of the Islamic Republic over the prolonged detention of Iran's Dianat ship and the inappropriate handling of its crew by the Indian authorities.
The Indian ambassador was asked to relay to his government the serious concern of the Iranian government about the continued detention of the Iranian ship and its crew members.
The Iranian ship, Dianat, was detained by the Indian naval forces about 18 months ago at India’s Mundra port for some ambiguous reasons. The Indian officials did not let the crew leave the vessel for 9 months, something that has caused them psychological problems.
On August 11, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman expressed Tehran's readiness to cooperate with New Delhi to clarify the technical issues surrounding the detention of the Indian oil tanker in the Persian Gulf.
The Indian oil tanker was detained by Iranian naval forces in accordance with international regulations, for which the ship’s captain is accountable, Seyed Abbas Araqchi said, adding that Iran is ready for cooperation with India to resolve the issue.
“The oil tanker issue is a trivial technical matter and Iran deals with it as a concerned party, while we are ready for cooperation with them (Indians) on the matter,” he added.