Iran seizes Indian ship carrying oil from Iraq

Photo: Iran seizes Indian ship carrying oil from Iraq / Iran

In a development with serious international ramifications, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has detained an Indian ship carrying oil in the Persian Gulf, Times of India reported.

Sources said the ship, named MT Desh Shanti, was on its way to India from Iraq when it was detained by the IRGC.

The ship is owned by the Shipping Corporation of India. The development has stunned authorities here as it was transporting oil from Iraq, a country which has overtaken Iran as the second largest supplier of crude to India after Saudi Arabia.

The government-owned ship was detained in international waters in the Persian Gulf before being coerced into entering Iranian waters. Late Wednesday evening, the ship was on its way to the Bandar Abbas port, guided by the IRGC.

Sources said Iran claimed to have detained the ship because of environmental concerns. Tehran authorities conveyed to India that the ship was polluting Iranian waters.

India has cut crude imports from Iran, a fallout of sanctions imposed by the US and the EU. The cut, in fact, helped India - along with China and South Korea - win a waiver from the US allowing it to continue to import crude from Iran.

In 2012, India is estimated to have imported crude from Iraq worth more than $15 billion. IOC is the largest importer of crude oil from Iraq.

In October 2010, Iraq replaced Iran as the country with the third largest proven reserves of 143.1 billion barrels of oil.

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