Indonesia’s coast guard states it has taken two tanker ships, one Iranian and one Panamanian, for supposedly carrying out an unauthorized ship-to-ship oil transfer.
A spokesman for the Indonesian Maritime Security Agency, Colonel Wisnu Pramadita stated on Sunday the coast guard discovered that the Iranian-flagged MT Horse and the Panamanian-flagged MT Frea had switched off their automatic identification systems. Upon inspection, the coast guard found that the two tankers seemed to be transferring illegal fuel ship-to-ship and intentionally covered the ships’ hulls to conceal their identities.
Many vessels started smuggling oil out of oil-rich country Iran following US sanctions under President Donald Trump, and while some of the tankers are seized by the Iranian coastguard or the Revolutionary Guard, many still get through. According to Iran, this is a planned crime and it is, therefore, hard to catch those engaged.
The two ships, seized in the waters off West Kalimantan province, were being taken to the coast guard base in Batam, Riau Islands region for more investigation.