JAKARTA – Authorities confirmed on Monday the confiscation of two Iranian and Panamanian tankers for allegedly smuggling oil in Indonesian waters.
The Iranian-flagged ship MT Horse and the Panamanian MT Freya were seized on Sunday off the coast of the Indonesian province of West Borneo and were taken for inspection to the island of Batam, located in the west of the country and a few kilometers from Singapore.
The director of Maritime Operations of the Indonesian Maritime Security Agency, Suwito, told CNN that the tankers were caught with a hose between them and tried to dispose of oil in the high seas.
The Indonesian admiral added that the ships had concealed their names and flags, which led to the suspicions of the authorities, who are continuing with investigations to clarify what happened.
There were 36 crew members on the MT Horse, while there were 25 on the MT Freya.
Due to United States sanctions, Iranian authorities sometimes use their own freighters to transport oil and turn off their transponders to avoid tracking.
Before sanctions on the Iranian energy sector were imposed in November 2018, following the unilateral withdrawal of Washington from the nuclear agreement with Tehran, Iran exported up to 2.8 million barrels of oil per day, but this has remarkably decreased in recent years.