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Stalemate over detention of Indian tanker by Iran persists

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The deadlock over detention of an Indian oil tanker by Iranian authorities at Bandar Abbas port failed to resolve with virtually no progress on the issue even as it entered the 14th day today.

"Unfortunately the status remains the same even as various government machinery including the Indian Embassy in Tehran, Ministries of Shipping and External Affairs are trying to resolve the issue. Efforts are on for the release of the vessel and officials are trying to convince the Iranian authorities that no pollution was caused by it," a Shipping Ministry official told PTI.

A top official of the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) also said that "Efforts are on to get the ship released. All 32 men on board it are also there besides the team which was sent to inspect the oil tanker for any pollution.

MT Desh Shanti, an oil tanker belonging to the country's largest ocean liner SCI 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.

A team, including a surveyor from Indian Register of Shipping, which is an internationally recognised independent ship classification society, founded in India in 1975 and a senior SCI official was sent by the Director General of Shipping to Bandar Abbas port to inspect the vessel.

The team after inspection has verified that no pollution was caused by the tanker with a capacity to carry 1,40,000 tonnes of crude.

Last week, spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs had said, "We have been in touch constantly with Iran on this issue. Despite intensive discussions, we have not yet made any progress. The matter is being pursued vigorously by our embassy in Tehran."

He had added that the ministry was working towards successful outcome of the "delicate" situation.

The Iranian authorities had expressed environment concerns and alleged that the vessel was causing pollution, a charge denied by Indian officials.

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First Published: Sun, August 25 2013. 18:55 IST