India seeking to break deadlock with Iran over tanker

TEHRAN – Indian government officials were scheduled to meet Iranian diplomats in New Delhi on Wednesday in an attempt to resolve a dispute over an Indian oil tanker that Iranian naval authorities recently detained, saying that the ship was polluting Iranian waters, the Wall Street Journal quoted an Indian executive as saying.

An executive with state-run Shipping Corp. of India, the owner of the tanker, told the Wall Street Journal that Tehran said it will not release the vessel until it receives “guarantee money” from India that could be used to pay compensation for the environmental damage caused by the ship.

This echoes an Iranian Labor News Agency report Wednesday quoting Mohammad Reza Qaderi, the director general of the Ports and Maritime Organization’s Marine Safety and Environment Protection department, as saying the ship would be released when Iran obtains guarantees from its insurer, P&I club insurance company, that compensation is forthcoming.

An Iranian official said previously that an inspection of the vessel had turned up extensive violations of regulations, including a nonfunctioning oil-and-water separation device.

An Iranian court will determine the compensation amount, ILNA reported

Iranian embassy officials in New Delhi were not immediately available, and a spokesman for India’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Shipping Corp. of India executives have said that the tanker was not in the vicinity of Iranian waters when it was detained last Tuesday, and they are not amenable to paying compensation.

“There is no progress at the moment,” the Shipping Corp. executive said, adding that “top government officials will be participating in the meeting.”

In a statement late Friday, Iran’s embassy in India said that the ship’s detention “is purely a technical and nonpolitical issue.”

According to the embassy, the tanker was detained following a warning from the Marine Emergency Mutual Aid Center, a Bahrain-based organization with a mission to fight marine pollution.

By Tehran Times

 

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