Greece’s shipping ministry has advised the country’s ships to avoid Iranian territorial waters when crossing the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman after Iran warned that it could follow Friday’s seizure of two Greek-flagged tankers.
Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) detained two Greek-flagged suezmax tankers, Delta Poseidon and Prudent Warrior, in the Persian Gulf last week and, shortly after, relayed through Tasnim News Agency that 17 other Greek tankers were in the Gulf waters and could be seized if “Greece continued its games”, referring to Athens’ seizure of the Russian-flagged tanker, Lana, which was carrying sanctioned Iranian crude oil.
Greece strongly condemned Iran’s actions and called for the immediate release of the vessels and their crews, saying these acts would have a “particularly negative impact on bilateral relations and Iran’s relations with the EU”. Meanwhile, the EU and the US also denounced the “unjustified seizure” of two Greek-flagged vessels.
“The attack on the two ships under the Greek flag is a clear violation of the rules of international law and is equivalent to piracy,” the minister of shipping and island policy, Giannis Plakiotakis, said yesterday.
Maritime security firm Dryad Global also warned that Greek-flagged and Greek-owned vessels as well as vessels carrying Greek cargo that are operating within the vicinity of Iran in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman are currently assessed to be at a heightened risk of interception.
Per ministry sources, the Prudent Warrior was yesterday anchored in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, while the Delta Poseidon remained at the same location in the Persian Gulf. The Delta Poseidon has a crew of 25, including two Greeks, and the Prudent Warrior has a crew of 23, including eight Greeks and a Cypriot.
Iran’s state media has released a video showing the IRGC’s heliborne special forces boarding the Greek ships ahead of their seizure over as yet unspecified maritime violations. The video also has other footage, including the seizure of the UK-flagged Stena Impero in July 2019.