Eyes of the Fleet

Eyes of the Fleet

Thursday, August 15, 2013

An Odd Iran -India Confrontation

Oil spill and arrest or bold international governmental hijacking?

Maritime Bulletin reports that India accused Iran of hijacking Indian suezmax tanker Desh Shanti, but there might be more to the story:
Indian crude oil tanker Desh Shanti was reported on Aug 6 13 dumping oil into the sea near Iran waters.

On August 15 the story got a new twist, developing into an international scandal.

India accused Iran in actually, hijacking Indian suezmax tanker under a pretext of oil pollution. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) detained Desh Shanti in international waters and according to The Times of India, is escorting tanker to Bandar Abbas.

 Desh Shanti ( shipspotting.com)
As of 01:30 UTC Aug 15 vessel according to AIS, was sailing in Persian Gulf towards Hormuz Strait, off Iran inner waters, abeam of Bandar-e Kangan, Iran, some 300 nautical miles to go to Bandar Abbas. Initially, tanker loaded with Iraq crude oil was en route from Iraq to India.

Indian authorities claim arrest is some kind of political gesture to express Iranian dissatisfaction with Indian recent cut in import of Iranian oil, as a fallout of sanctions imposed by the US and the EU.
Times of India report here:
For India, it is not far-fetched to draw the conclusion that Tehran is peeved with India's rising crude imports from Iraq and that the seizure of the ship may be a way of showing its displeasure. But this doesn't just have consequences for India-Iran ties but also internationally, as it will raise questions about what Tehran intends to do in the Persian Gulf where it has even threatened use of force in the past to show its influence in the oil trade.
A news report from 6 Aug 13 on allegations the ship was "dumping" oil here:
Bahrain is on “high alert” following an oil spill in the Arabian Gulf, also called the Persian Gulf, which authorities say was deliberately caused by an Indian ship.

The Indian-flagged crude oil tanker Desh Shanti was caught dumping oil near Iranian waters on Tuesday after ignoring official communications from concerned authorities, says a report in the “Gulf Daily News.”

Commissioned in 2004, the Desh Shanti is a 158,030 tonne oil tanker managed by the Shipping Corporation of India, Ltd., a government of India enterprise.

The spill caused an oil slick 10 miles long, according to the Marine Emergency Mutual Aid Centre, a regional intergovernmental organization based in Bahrain.
No explanation is provided as to why a ship loaded with valuable crude oil would release a portion of its cargo off Iran instead of carrying it all the way to its destination. There seem to be few, if any, reports of communications by the ship to report a problem.

So, perhaps, the ship, through some sort of accident, put oil in the water. Or, perhaps, the Iranians did something to the ship to put oil in the water.

 Or, perhaps, there are even less fruitful avenues of idle speculation for me to follow.

Keeping an eye on this.


  1. Anonymous9:17 AM

    Wait a while and the truth always come out.Iran is playing a dangerous game.

    Firm denies ship caused oil spill
    Posted on » Saturday, August 10, 2013

    A LAW firm yesterday hit back at accusations an oil spill in the Arabian Gulf was caused by an Indian ship.

    Holman Fenwick Willan Middle East said investigations conducted by the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) did not find any evidence of an oil spill allegedly caused by motor tanker Desh Shanti near Iranian waters.

    The GDN reported on August 5 that the Marine Emergency Mutual Aid Centre (MEMAC) said the spill caused an oil slick of around 10 miles.

    "SCI has investigated the matter fully and has found no evidence whatsoever to support the allegation that any oil was spilled from the Desh Shanti," said the firm in a statement.

    "In particular, the vessel was not carrying any cargo at the time of the alleged incident, and she had sailed in ballast from her last port, where her tanks and lines were confirmed to be dry by an independent inspection agency."

    The firm, based on instructions from India's largest shipping company, said it takes environmental responsibilities "very seriously".

    "The vessel received a telephonic enquiry from the UKMTO (UK Maritime Trade Operations) about possible oil spill on July 30, which resulted in an immediate check which determined that there was no leakage from the vessel." it said.

    "The vessel was again inspected at her next port of call by an independent surveyor, which confirmed that there was no evidence of any spill."

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