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Greece’s tanker spat with Iran takes a twist with latest court ruling

A Greek appeal court on Wednesday overturned an earlier court ruling that allowed the confiscation by the United States of part of a cargo of Iranian oil on an Iranian-flagged tanker off the Greek coast, according to Reuters, in a move that could speed up the release of two Greek tankers being held in Iranian waters in retaliation.

Greek authorities in April impounded the Iranian-flagged Lana, formerly Pegas, with 19 Russian crewmembers onboard, near the coast of the southern island of Evia due to European Union sanctions.

The ship was quickly released due to complications regarding its ownership. The US in May confiscated part of the Iranian oil cargo held onboard and transferred it to another ship, following the initial Greek court ruling.

In a separate case, Greek authorities later seized the Lana again, acting on an interim court order over alleged debts to another shipping company.

Iran responded on May 27 by detaining two Greek-flagged suezmaxes in the Persian Gulf. Delta Tankers’ Delta Poseidon and Polembros Shipping’s Prudent Warrior remain in Iranian waters with Greek shipowners and politicians repeatedly urging for their release at many events across Posidonia this week.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


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