By BIMAN MUKHERJI
NEW DELHI -- Iranian naval authorities have detained an
Indian oil tanker carrying Iraqi oil through the Persian Gulf
on its way to India, the tanker's owner and an Indian shipping
official said Thursday.
The Shipping Corp. of India, the ship's owner, said
Iranian authorities have detained the vessel since Tuesday
afternoon and had alleged the Suezmax crude-oil tanker was
polluting Iranian waters, though the company denies the
allegation. Suezmax tankers are medium-sized oil tankers
capable on average of carrying 1 million bbl of oil.
"They have detained one of our tankers. Iranian authorities
have alleged that it was polluting their water, which is
absolutely wrong," said B.K. Mandal, chairman and managing
director of the Shipping Corp. of India. "The ship was not in the
vicinity of Iranian water."
Mr. Mandal said Iranian naval officials Thursday remained on
board the ship, which was sailing. He said the Iranian
officials may be directing it to an Iranian port.
"It may be going to Bandar Abbas," Mr. Mandal said.
The Marine Traffic commercial ship-tracking website showed
the company's MT Desh Shanti vessel, at 0605 GMT Thursday, was
traveling southeast at a speed of 11.5 knots off Iran's
coastline in the Persian Gulf.
The Iranian Ministry of Defense's press office couldn't
immediately be reached by phone and didn't respond to an
e-mailed request for comment on the matter.
The MT Desh Shanti is a 158,030-deadweight-ton oil tanker
built in 2004, according to the owner's website.
Shipping Corp. of India Ltd. is working with Indian embassy
authorities in Tehran to try to resolve the matter, a company
Amitava Banerjee, chief surveyor of India's Ministry of
Shipping, said Iran detained the ship without any
"The United Nations Convention of the Laws of the Sea 1982
guarantees passage of the ship," he said.
Syed Akbaruddin, a spokesman for India's foreign ministry, declined
to immediately comment on the matter.
Dow Jones Newswires