A Singapore-flagged tanker which, owner claims, came under Iranian navy fire in the international waters off the UAE this week, is wanted over the unsettled $300mn debt in damages it caused to an oil rig in late March, according to Iranian official.
The incident happened on
Thursday after Iranian naval patrol boat spotted MT Alpine
Eternity commercial ship in the international Persian Gulf, just
off the island of Abu Musa, and demanded it to maneuver into
Several warning short were fired as the tanker, operated by
Norway’s Transpetrol TM AS, issued a distress call, prompting the
United Arab Emirates (UAE) to send out coastguard vessels. The
tanker’s owner, South Maritime Pte Ltd, even claimed that one
shot was fired directly on the ship, but “no serious damage
was sustained by the vessel and none of the 23 crew members were
— Iran (@Iran) May 14,
The Alpine Eternity was escorted and is now safely anchored off
Iranian officials did not comment on the incident much, with the
country’s sole oil official announcing that the tanker was wanted
by Tehran in connection with its collision with an oil rig at
around March 22.
“We want neighboring countries to take the necessary
cooperation on confiscation and handing over of this particular
vessel,” Habib Jadidi, a director of Iran’s giant South Pars
gas field operations, told Shana news outlet.
The director blamed the ship and its captain for drifting some
40-50 kilomenters off course in March which has caused the
“The collision has created
a very dangerous situation for the wells. If it is not quickly
tackled, wellhead installations will be damaged and if no gas
flows from the wells it could lead to unpleasant hazards and
said. Notifying the operators of the caused damage, Jadibi said,
produced no result.
Meanwhile, the vessel’s owner and manager Transpetrol issued a
statement confirming “uncharted object” collision in March
insisting it caused no pollution or injuries to crew. The
statement claimed that the operator remains in “continuous
dialogue” with proper authorities and there was no reason
whatsoever for Iranian naval patrol to engage the vessel.
“Owners and managers can see no reason why the Iranian
Authorities should try to seize the vessel, given the advanced
state of negotiations and ongoing dialogue with the Iranian
counterparts,” the statement read.
This week’s incident is at least second in the Gulf involving the
Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy and a commercial ships.
In late April, Iran detained a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo
ship in the Strait of Hormuz for more than a week. In that
incident, Tehran too said that the company that chartered the MV
Maersk Tigris owed money to an Iranian firm. The vessel was
released after the matter was settled.