Iran, Greece Release Tankers After Understanding Reached between Two Sides’ Maritime Authorities
Iran released two Greek-flagged tankers that had been confiscated in the country’s waters in the Persian Gulf in May after an Iranian-flagged tanker was allowed to leave Greece, the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday.
It came after a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the officials of the ports and maritime organizations of the two countries during a visit by the representative of the Greek government to Tehran, the foreign ministry said in a statement, the full text of which is as follows:
Following the agreement between the maritime officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Greece, a few hours ago, the ship carrying Iranian oil consignment left the waters of Greece, after a six-month stop, for its pre-designated destination.
The Iranian-flagged ship was sailing in international waters toward its destination in April this year when it was forced to take refuge in a Greek port due to unfriendly weather conditions and a technical fault and unfortunately, in a move in violation of international norms and conventions, it was detained and its oil cargo was also confiscated and transferred to a ship chartered by an American company for shipment to the US.
Greece took the move by resorting to a ruling by a local court and under the pretext of judicial cooperation with the US.
The move met strong opposition by the Islamic Republic of Iran from the very beginning, and seeing that the move was considered a violation of the international law on freedom of navigation, the Islamic Republic of Iran took up vast political and legal measures to counter the move.
Thanks to the planning, legal and judicial steps and negotiations that were completed, and despite illegitimate pressure by a third party government to keep up the piracy, ultimately, the ruling of the local court of first instance in Greece for confiscation of the Iranian oil cargo in favor of the US was annulled by the appeals and supreme courts of Greece and a verdict was issued for the return of the cargo to Iran and the aforementioned consignment was transferred back to the Iranian oil tanker and the preparations were made for the departure of the tanker and its cargo from the territorial waters of Greece.
Within the same framework and for the resolution of the issue, intense negotiations were held between Iran and Greece over the past months and a memorandum of understanding was signed by the two sides.
Under the memorandum of understanding which was signed by the officials of the ports and maritime organizations of the two countries during a visit by the representative of the Greek government to Tehran, the two sides will take up the necessary cooperation with the aim of improving maritime security.
Accordingly, in addition to and simultaneously with the Islamic Republic of Iran-flagged ship, two Greek ships, which were detained in the Persian Gulf waters over the past months due to a legal and judicial dispute, were released and therefore the three ships departed for their destinations on Wednesday.