Indonesia says it has seized Iranian and Panamanian tankers

Indonesia says it has seized Iranian and Panamanian tankers

Two tankers, an Iranian and a Panamanian, were illegally in Indonesian waters pumping oil.

Indonesian authorities said on Sunday they seized an Iranian tanker and a Panamanian tanker suspected of illegally transferring oil in their country’s waters, the Independent reported.

The Iranian-flagged MT Horse and Panamanian-flagged MT Frea tankers were seized in the waters of Indonesia’s West Kalimantan province, said Vishnu Pramadita, a spokesman for Indonesia’s Maritime Security Agency.

He said the tankers were suspected of various violations, including not displaying national flags, disabling their identification systems, illegally anchoring, and illegally transferring fuel between vessels and spilling oil.

He said authorities escorted the two tankers to Batam Island in Riau Province for further investigation.

Iranian state television, citing Indonesian authorities, confirmed the tanker seizure. There are no details in the report.

Iran, which has large oil and natural gas reserves, has faced a major impact on its overseas sales through U.S. sanctions after former President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled America out of Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers in 2018.

Since then, Iran has been selling oil on the black market and making deals with Venezuela to prop up its economy.

Iran’s state-owned fleet of oil tankers routinely turn off Automatic Identification System trackers, which help camouflage the location of cargo deliveries. These AIS beacons – a security measure that lets other ships know what’s around them – can be tracked. Analysts say these ships often transfer their oil to other ships, which then sell the oil under false pretenses.