New Delhi: Iran on Friday asserted that detention of Indian tanker MT Desh Shanti was “purely a technical and non-political issue” and shipping authorities of two countries were engaged in constructive and positive interaction to resolve it as per international law as soon as possible.
Terming as “distorted” the reports about the incident, Iranian embassy in New Delhi in a statement said the detention took place only because of the warning issued by the Marine Emergency Mutual Aid Center (MEMAC) which is affiliated to the Regional Organization for Protection of Maritime Environment (ROPME) in the Persian Gulf and the Oman Sea.
MT Desh Shanti, the tanker belonging to the country’s largest ocean liner Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), was detained by Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in Persian Gulf and taken to Bandar Abbas Port while carrying crude from Bashra in Iraq.
“During the last few days some distorted reports about detention of MT Desh Shanti, an Indian oil tanker, in the Persian Gulf waters have been published in a section of Indian media. Therefore, this embassy considers it necessary to state the following to inform the public opinion,” the embassy statement said.
It said, “This is purely a technical and non political issue and the officials of the shipping authorities of the two countries are engaged in constructive and positive interaction to resolve it according to the international law as soon as possible. The diplomatic channels of two countries are also involved in supporting this interaction.”
The development has cropped up at a time when India has taken steps to reduce its crude imports from Iran.
The country has cut oil imports from Iran, after sanctions imposed by the US and the EU.
India’s crude imports from Iran plunged by more than 26.5% in the 2012-13 financial year (April-March) as US and European sanctions on Tehran combined to make it difficult for Indian refiners to ship Iranian oil.