Iran agrees to release detained Indian oil tanker

06 Sep 2013


Iran has finally agreed to release an Indian vessel detained by its naval authorities more than three weeks ago, ending a stand-off that threatened to affect relations between the two countries.

The oil tanker, MT Desh Shanti operated by state-run Shipping Corp of India Ltd, was detained by the Iranian navy on 13 August for allegedly leaking crude and polluting the Persian Gulf.

Iran agreed to release the vessel, which has been under detention for the past 24 days, after India agreed to pay up to $1 million if it was found that the crude oil tanker had polluted the Persian Gulf.

The web site of the Port and Maritime Organization said Iran has released the ship after a deposit guarantee was made. It didn't say who issued the guarantee.

India had earlier denied the allegation and, according to Shipping Corporation of India, the vessel was not in Iranian waters when it was detained.

Raising strong objections to Teheran's move, New Delhi had initiated discussions through diplomatic channels.

Although India is one of the countries with which Iran continues to have good trade relations despite western sanctions, but the prolonged dispute over the tanker has raised tensions on both sides.

Sources at the ministry of shipping in New Delhi and Iran's Port and Maritime Organization said the Iranian authorities have agreed to release it, but did not give details.

Shipping Corp of India said it hasn't received any information on the release of the ship.

The Marine Traffic commercial ship-tracking website showed the vessel, MT Desh Shanti, was still moored near the port of Bandar Abbas.

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