Iran PMO calls on Greek govt. to abide by intl. maritime laws

TEHRAN, May 25 (MNA) –Reacting to blocking Iranian vessel from sailing by Greece, Iran's Ports and Shipping Organization (PMO) in a statement said that the action is considered 'an act of piracy', calling for abidance by intl regulations.

Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) as the duly authorized maritime administration of the Islamic Republic of Iran reacted against actions of the Greek government as to hindering Iranian vessel from sailing and arresting its cargo and urged the Greek government to fulfill its international obligations.

According to PMO’s official website, a tanker vessel operating under the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been held by the Greek government on the coasts of that country and the cargo on board the vessel has been arrested through a court order and in coordination with the US government. This is while the vessel had been forced to seek a place of safety at the Greek coasts in order to ensure safety of the vessel and the crew onboard. Unfortunately, no cooperation or assistance has been provided to the vessel from the Greek authorities, while the military forces of that country have proceeded to discharge the cargo, which can be construed as a vivid instance of piracy.

The vessel had faced bad weather conditions, and experienced a number of technical problems, which led the vessel to call for assistance. Under international and technical regulations and standards, the State with the nearest coastline to the vessel calling for assistance due to safety threats should cooperate by guiding the vessel to a place of safety. The vessel can then take the required measures to resolve any technical problems and resume its international voyage once the danger has been completely eliminated.

While Greece has undertaken such international obligations, and is responsible toward the Islamic Republic of Iran as a Member State of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), such unacceptable measures have unfortunately been taken by the Greek government, toward a vessel in need of being transferred to a place of safety, experiencing technical problems, and facing bad weather conditions.

In reaction to such measures, the IMO Secretary-General and the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs have repeatedly and emphatically urged the Greek government to allow the vessel to proceed with its journey, once the safety threats have been eliminated. Despite the above requests and follow-ups on the matter, the Greek Government has still failed to cooperate accordingly, and take the requested measures.

According to international regulations approved by IMO regarding safety of lives at sea, all countries are required to provide assistance to vessels in distress near their coastlines, until the danger is resolved, and safety of the vessel and people on board can be guaranteed, while any necessary repairs and facilities should be provided to achieve or facilitate the above.

Moreover, the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) has also stipulated limitations for bunker operations or any other activities that pose the risk of pollution to the marine environment. The Greek government, nevertheless, has been acting in full violation and negligence of these provisions as well.

MA/IRN84767376

News Code 187212

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