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Indonesian authorities said Wednesday they seized an Iranian tanker and arrested its crew members for illegally transferring oil to another vessel in the country’s exclusive economic zone. The Iranian-flagged – MT Arman 114 – transporting 272,569 metric tons (2.3 million barrels) of crude oil worth 4.6 trillion rupiah ($305 million) was seized on Friday while carrying out illegal transshipment of oil to the Cameroon- flagged tanker – MT S Tinos – in Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone near Natuna waters, said Aan Kurnia, Indonesia’s Coast Guard chief. An Indonesian coast guard vessel detected suspicious activities at dawn and tried to approach the two tankers.
The Iranian tanker fled toward Malaysian territorial waters spilling oil as the hose connecting the two tankers came loose. The tanker ignored various signals to stop, ranging from horns and warnings via loudspeakers to shots in the air, Kurnia said. He added that the Iranian tanker, which was also carrying three passengers besides its crew, was later arrested by Indonesian Coast Guard with the help of its Malaysian counterpart.
The Cameroon-flagged tanker managed to escape. Authorities were still questioning the tanker’s Egyptian national captain and 28 Syrian crew members, Kurnia said. Kurnia said the tanker was facing a variety of violations, including not displaying a national flag, shutting off their identification systems, anchoring illegally, as well as the illegal transfer of fuel between ships and spilling oil. (AP)