Greek Tankers Seized by Iran, Athens Protests the Piracy

Photo credit: AP

After Athens enabled the US seizure of an Iranian-flagged vessel in Greek waters earlier this week, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy seized two oil tankers flying the Greek flag in the Persian Gulf on Friday.

The industry monitor Lloyd’s List reported that Tehran’s IRGC troops used helicopters to board two Greek oil tankers Delta Poseidon and Prudent Warrior, which were later escorted from international traffic lanes to Iranian waters a few miles off the coast by naval vessels.

The seizure of the two vessels has also been confirmed by the Greek Foreign Ministry which demanded their release.

Nour News, an outlet affiliated with the IRGC, reported later that Iran has decided to take punitive measures against Greece after it seized on Wednesday an Iranian-flagged tanker Pegas and let the US government confiscate its crude oil.

Tehran called the move US “piracy” and pointed out that Washington is reportedly planning to sell the ship’s oil cargo, which was confiscated under sanctions targeting Russia.

State news agency IRNA has conveyed Iran’s deep concern over the US government’s continued violation of international laws and international maritime conventions while the Iranian Foreign Ministry had summoned Switzerland’s ambassador, which represents US interests in Tehran, to protest the seizure.

After experiencing technical problems, Pegas, according to Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization, had sought shelter along the Greek coast from bad weather. The organization has called the seizure of Pegas’ cargo a clear example of piracy.

Previously owned by the Russian company Transmorflot, Pegas, which was renamed Lana on March 1, was sanctioned by the US on Feb. 22, two days before the hostilities in Ukraine began, while Transmorflot itself was sanctioned on May 8.

Since May 1, Pegas was already under Iranian ownership by then and has been flying Tehran’s flag since. Its capture seems to be related to sanctions against Moscow though the US has previously sanctioned Iran’s oil exports and seized Iranian tankers bound for Venezuela, citing its sanctions against Caracas.

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