Iran warns UN shipping agency about US moves against oil tanker

Tasnim – Iran’s Embassy in London warned the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations’ shipping agency, about the US’ hazardous moves against an Iranian oil tanker that was recently released from Gibraltar despite Washington’s request to continue its detention.

In a tweet late on Wednesday, Iranian Ambassador to London Hamid Baeedinejad said the embassy has cautioned the IMO about the US violations of international maritime agreements.

“Our embassy in London warned the IMO and its members that the US has violated maritime treaties and endangered the international maritime safety and security by threatening the tanker carrying Iranian oil, its captain and crew, as well as countries that provide port services to it,” he stated.

On Friday, the US blacklisted the Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as Grace 1, and sanctioned its captain, according to the US Treasury Department.

A report by The Financial Times revealed Wednesday that four days before the US imposed sanctions on the tanker, the vessel’s Indian captain received an unusual email from US Special Representative on Iran Brian Hook.

According to several emails seen by the Financial Times, Hook wrote to Akhilesh Kumar on August 26 that the Trump administration was offering him several million dollars to pilot the ship to a country that would impound the vessel on behalf of the US. To make sure the captain did not mistake the email for a scam, it included an official state department phone number.

Hook has emailed or texted roughly a dozen captains in recent months in an effort to scare mariners into understanding that helping Iran evade sanctions comes at a heavy price, the report added.

Last month, the authorities in Gibraltar released the Iranian vessel Adrian Darya 1 after six weeks, defying a US request to continue the dentition of the ship.

On July 4, the British Royal Marines seized the giant Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar for trying to take oil to Syria allegedly in violation of EU sanctions.

Tehran maintained that the supertanker was not bound for Syria and its seizure has taken place at the behest of the US.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry had summoned the British envoy to Tehran several times in protest at the UK navy’s move.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had warned London that it will definitely pay the price for the illegal seizure of the tanker in international waters.