Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has warned that other Greek tankers currently in the Persian Gulf could be detained as the dispute between the two nations continues about the fate of an Iranian oil cargo onboard a Russian-flagged tanker that was seized in Greece in April.
Iranian forces detained two Greek-flagged suezmax tankers, Delta Poseidon and Prudent Warrior, on Friday and shortly after, relayed through local media that 17 Greek tankers could be seized if the Iranian ship, Lana, and confiscated crude oil detained earlier is not returned.
Greece lodged a strong protest over the “violent occupation of two Greek-flagged ships”, describing the acts as essentially equivalent to piracy and called for the immediate release of the vessels and their crews. France also denounced the move, calling it “a serious violation of international law”.
This incident is assessed to be a retaliatory action in line with a history of Iranian forces detaining vessels in a tit-for-tat manner
Maritime security firm Dryad Global stated in an update: “This incident is assessed to be a retaliatory action in line with a history of Iranian forces detaining vessels in a tit-for-tat manner.” Dryad Global went to remind clients of the Iranian detention of the British-flagged Stena Impero in 2019 in response to the UK detention of the Grace 1 and latterly the Iranian detention of the South Korean Hankuk Chemi in 2021, in response to the South Korean central bank seizing Iranian funds.
“As a result, 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 Gulf of Oman are currently assessed to be at a heightened risk of interception,” Dryad Global warned.
Meanwhile, Iran said on Saturday that the crew of the two ships seized by the IRGC have not been detained and are in good health.
“All crew members of both Greek ships are in full health and being protected while onboard in accordance with international law, and they are provided with necessary services,” the Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran said, adding that the ships were detained due to unspecified maritime violations.
Delta Tankers’ Delta Poseidon and Polembros Shipping’s Prudent Warrior, carrying Iraqi oil, were ordered to sail to Bandar Abbas port on the southern coast of Iran on Sunday.