Iranian envoy summoned over Indian tanker's continued detention

Last Updated: Tue, Aug 27, 2013 18:20 hrs

New Delhi, Aug 27 (IANS) India Tuesday summoned the Iranian ambassador over the continued detention of its oil tanker MT Desh Shanti, carrying 140,000 tonnes of Iraqi crude oil to the country, and asked that the ship be released soon.

Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh met Iranian Ambassador Gholamreza Ansari in South Block Tuesday for the second time since MV Desh Shanti was detained by Iranian authorities at Bandar Abbas. The two had last met over the issue on Aug 16.

The foreign secretary conveyed India's "strong concern at the continued detention of our ship in Port Bandar Abbas and the government of India's expectation that the ship would be released at an early date and that crew members would be treated with all due consideration and courtesy in keeping with international norms," said the ministry of external affairs official spokesperson.

"Officials of both sides will make another effort to resolve this issue amicably," said Syed Akbaruddin.

MT Desh Shanti, belonging to the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), was detained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in the Persian Gulf Aug 13.

Iran has demanded an anti-pollution undertaking from the ship's captain and SCI for releasing the vessel. Tehran has termed the detention as a "technical and non-political issue".

According to Iranian media reports, the oil tanker had been impounded because it discharged its oily ballast water 30 miles away from Iran's Lavan Island in the Persian Gulf, causing a 10 mile long oil slick in the sea.

India has cut its crude imports from sanctions-hit Iran.

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