Oil tanker detention: India rushes team to Iran

New Delhi, Aug 20: India has rushed a team of officials to Bandar Abbas port in Iran to look into the technical aspects concerning its oil tanker detained by Iranians eight days ago.

Director General of Shipping has sent a team of officials, including a senior Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) official and members of Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) to Bandar Abbas port, a senior SCI official told today.

Meanwhile, official sources said the team will help in looking into technical issues, if any, to secure the early release of the MT Desh Shanti, which was detained by Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) on August 12 in Persian Gulf and taken to Bandar Abbas port while carrying crude from Basrah in Iraq.

The SCI official said ministries of External Affairs and Shipping were dealing with the issue and exuded hope that the matter would be cleared fast. The IRS is an internationally recognised independent ship classification society, founded in India in 1975.

The Iranian authorities had expressed environment concerns and alleged that the vessel was causing pollution, a charge which has been denied by Indian officials. The Indian officials said there was no pollution from the comparatively new vessel with a capacity to carry 140,000 tonnes of crude.

The Iranian embassy here in a statement last week had said that the detention was "purely a technical and non-political issue". The tanker's detention comes at a time when India, the world's fourth-largest oil importer, has significantly reduced its import of crude oil from Iran following severe financial sanctions from the western countries against the Islamic republic.


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