JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla) has denied external factors was behind its decision to seize two foreign motor tankers in waters off Pontianak, West Kalimantan province on Sunday, January 24,.
“The seizing of the MT Horse from Iran and the Panama flagged MT Freya was not due to pressure from the international community or the Indonesian [government],” said Bakamla head for the Western Maritime ZoneVice Admiral Hadi Pranoto on Thursday, January 29.
Speaking to the Antara state news agency, he maintained that the seizure “had nothing to do with sanctions against [Iran], as [Indonesia] maintains good relations with countries around the world.”
However, the Iranian government disagreed. “Iran has demanded an explanation from Indonesia about Jakarta’s seizure of the [MT Horse],” said Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh on Monday, January 25, as quoted by the Reuters state news agency.
“[Iranian] harbor authorities and [motor tanker] manufacturers are trying to find the roots of any issues with the Indonesian authorities and resolving them. We are still trying to determine if [the Horse] committed any criminal or administrative wrongdoing.”
The Bakamla patrol vessel KN Marore-322 seized the MT Horse and MT Freya as the two tankers were illegally transferring fuel.
Bakamla spokesman Wisnu Pramandita said the agency will hold the ships for a number of infractions.
They include “illegally transferring fuel, concealing the vessels’ identities, violating the right of transit passage, failing to raise their flags and turning off their automatic identification system [AIS].”
“The Freya was even responsible for an oil spill.” The MT Horse was built by the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) while the MT Freya was managed by the Shanghai Future Ship Company. The former was filled to capacity, while the latter was empty.
According to the Refinitiv Eikon shipping website, both ships have the capacity to carry over two million barrels of oil.
(Writer: Achmad Nasrudin Yahya | Editor: Dani Prabowo, Danur Lambang Pristiandaru)
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