In a thriller that is expected to have a long duration, the case of “state piracy” by Iran develops with the occupation of two Greek tankers in the Persian Gulf.
< p> In terms of ownership, Delta Poseidon belongs to the fleet of Diamantis Diamantidis's Delta Tankers and the Prudent Warrior to the company Polembros Shipping Limited of interests of Spyros Polemis. The two ships, the Delta Poseidon and the Warrior, were in the Persian Gulf when the Revolutionary Guards' occupation operation began.
There were reportedly 25 people in the Delta as crew, of which two Greeks, while 23 people were present at the Warrior at that time as members of the crew, Eight of them are Greeks and one is a Cypriot.
According to protothema.gr, according to diplomatic sources, the Iranian authorities are said to offer as a reason for the armed enterprise the need to control ships.
The Poseidon had left Basra, Iraq for Fujairah, with the final destination being the refineries in Agios Theodoros. Respectively, the Prudent Warrior, had also left Basra for Fugeria with the final destination, however, had not yet been determined.
The anxiety of the relatives and friends of the Greek sailors is further intensified by the fact that the The Delta Poseidon was reportedly landed by helicopter with seven gunmen disembarking, and the Prudent Warrior was also landed with seven gunmen.
According to the information available so far , the crews of the two ships are in good health while the Iranians seem to be behaving well and the Greek authorities do not seem to have any concerns about their safety.
It is recalled that the fact of the seizure of the two ships was made known by them The Iranians, in a statement issued by the Public Relations Department of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) stating that “IRGC naval forces today (Friday) seized two Greek oil tankers in the Persian Gulf due to violations committed”, without, however, naming the type of violations, which prompted “piracy”.
In the diplomatic thriller that has been unfolding since yesterday, the first interpretations are given, linking the Revolutionary Guards raid against the two Greek ships in retaliation for the seizure of a Russian ship transporting oil from Iran, last April, to Qar. p>
“Piracy” sees the Foreign Minister
The reaction from the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs was furious, taking a strong step against the Iranian Ambassador in Athens, even talking about the “violent occupation of two Greek-flagged ships in the Gulf”. Attaching special importance to the development of the case, Queen Sofia warned that the event overshadows the bilateral framework of Greek-Iranian diplomatic relations, but also the EU-Iran relationship, in a period of intense international consultations on Tehran's nuclear program. >
The announcement of the Foreign Minister:
“By order of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias, the Secretary General of the Ministry Themistoklis Demiris recently held a strong protest action in Iran Ambassador to Athens, regarding the violent occupation of two Greek-flagged ships in the Gulf.
The above acts are essentially equivalent to acts of piracy. The Secretary-General strongly condemned these acts, which are contrary to fundamental rules of international law and international navigation.
He called for the immediate release of the ships and their crews. He also stressed that these actions will have a particularly negative impact on bilateral relations, as well as on EU-Iran relations.
Earlier today, a helicopter of the Iranian navy landed on the Greek-flagged ship Delta Poseidon which was sailing in international waters (22 nautical miles off the coast of Iran) in the Gulf. Gunmen then captured the ship's crew, including two Greek citizens. and located near the Iranian coast.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already informed the European External Action Service, the International Maritime Organization, as well as allies and partners of Greece. In light of the above, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises Greek citizens to avoid traveling to Iran.
Greek-flagged ships are required to follow the instructions of the Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy, with which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in close coordination and continuous communication “.
PNO: Occupation is a blatant violation of International Law
The Panhellenic Maritime Federation “condemns the violent occupation of the two Greek-owned and Greek-flagged tankers that took place on Friday 27-5-2022 at noon in international Gulf waters by the Iranian armed forces”.
As noted by Federation, “regardless of the reasons cited, the seizure of merchant ships and the hostage-taking of crews is a gross violation of international law and a dangerous development for international navigation, crews and international trade.
The Panhellenic Maritime Federation calls on the Greek Government and all involved international forums to urgently take all necessary actions to immediately release all Seafarers serving on the above ships and to ensure their immediate and safe repatriation. “
A Cypriot is being held by the Iranian authorities
After the occupation of two Greek oil tankers by the Guards of the Revolution, Greece and Iran accuse each other of & # 8220; acts of piracy & # 8221 ;. A Cypriot is being held by the Iranian authorities, according to ERT. 8220; Revolutionary Guards & # 8221; while sailing in the Persian Gulf.
The press office of the & # 8220; Guards of the Revolution & # 8221; (IRGC) issued a laconic statement yesterday according to which & # 8220; the IRGC Navy seized two Greek oil tankers due to violations in the waters of the Persian Gulf & # 8221 ;.
Contradictory information on the conditions of the occupation of the Greek oil tankers
The Iranian semi-official news agency Nour News, which expresses the positions of the Guards of the Revolution, broadcast more details about the event, clarifying that the two Greek oil tankers were sailing in the Iranian territorial waters. According to the same source, the Delta Poseidon and the Prudent Warrior were sailing off the Iranian ports of Bandar-Lengeh and Assaluyeh respectively and that their crew members were being held.
Greek public television ERT broadcast last night that the seizure of the two Greek oil tankers took place when one of the two was sailing in international waters and the other near the Iranian coast. According to a relevant map posted on ERT's news website, ertnews.gr, the Delta Poseidon oil tanker sailed off the Iranian port of Assaluyeh and the Prudent Warrior off the coast of Bandar-Lengeh. On the contrary, the Iranian agency Nour News in its relevant telegram states the reverse position of the two occupied Greek oil tankers & # 8211; that is, the Delta Poseidon was said to be sailing off the coast of Bandar-Lenge and the Prudent Warrior off the coast of Assaluyeh.
ERT reported that during the operation to seize the two Greek oil tankers, helicopters with armed men of the “Guards of the Revolution” landed on their deck and captured the crew. On the other hand, Nour News and other Iranian media do not report details of the operation to seize the ships.
The Iranian news agency Nour News reported that only in Delta Poseidon are Greek citizens included in the crew, adding that in the Prudent Warrior & # 8220; there are no Greeks & # 8221 ;. On the contrary, the Greek public television published detailed data on the number of crew members, their nationalities and the shipping companies. According to ERT, the Delta Poseidon crew consists of a total of 25 people, two of whom are Greeks, while the Prudent Warrior has a crew of 23 people, of whom 8 are Greeks and one is a Cypriot citizen. ERT also broadcast that Delta Poseidon belongs to the company Delta Tankers of Diamantis Diamantidis and Prudent Warrior belongs to the company Polembros Shipping Limited of interests of Spyros Polemis.
According to Nour News, the two Greek oil tankers loaded oil in the Iraqi port of Basra. The Delta Poseidon cargo was destined for the United States, while the destination of the Prudent Warrior is said to remain unknown. The oil transported by the two ships was transhipped to the Iranian ports of Bandar-Lengeh and Assaluyeh, respectively.
of two Greek oil tankers is an act of retaliation as a result of the coordinated theft of Iranian oil by Greece and the United States “, without specifying which fact justifies the Iranian retaliation against Greece.
However, the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in order to justify yesterday's decision to occupy the two Greek oil tankers, cites an official protest of the Iranian Navigation and Ports Authority to the Greek government issued on Wednesday, May 25, 2022. The Iranian protest had taken place on the same day (25/5/2022) when the Greek authorities seized tankers under the Iranian flag that were sailing in Greek territorial waters. The protest of the Iranian Navigation and Ports Organization characterized the decision of the Greek authorities as & # 8220; act of piracy and violation of international navigation rules & # 8221 ;, calling on the Greek government to meet its international obligations and immediately lift its seizure. .
The text of the protest states, among other things: & # 8220; The ship was facing adverse weather conditions and a significant number of technical problems, so it asked for help. According to international navigation rules, the state that exercises sovereignty over the nearest shore in relation to a vessel calling for help, citing navigation safety reasons, should cooperate in order to lead the vessel to a safe place. The boat can then take the appropriate steps to resolve the technical problems it faces and continue its course when the hazard is now fully addressed & # 8221 ;. Nevertheless, the Iranian media do not state the exact position of the Iranian tanker allegedly committed by the Greek authorities, nor do they identify the identity of the tanker that was the subject of the protest of the Iranian Navigation and Ports Authority to the Greek government, in addition to being an Iranian-flagged ship.
Regarding the protest of the Iranian Maritime and Ports Organization dated 25/5/2022, the Iranian media broadcast that on the same day (Wednesday 25 May) the director of the Department of Mediterranean Affairs of the Iranian and Iranian Overseas Countries went to Tehran. Due to the absence of the Greek ambassador, he addressed the Greek envoy, in order to remind him of the international obligations of Greece, requesting the immediate release of the Iranian tanker. According to the pro-government Tehran Times, during the same meeting, the Iranian official & # 8220; criticized Greece for its submission to US pressure, calling the Greek stance unacceptable & # 8221 ;. In addition, the Nour News agency reports that earlier yesterday, before the meeting of the Iranian diplomat with the Greek envoy, the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs took a separate step against the United States before the envoy of the Swiss Iran, accusing Washington & # 8220; of illegally seizing Iranian oil transported by a Russian tanker of Iranian interests & # 8221; which was allegedly confiscated last Wednesday 25/5 by the Greek authorities. In his speech, the head of the US Department of State of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the Swiss delegation to convey to the US government the strong protest of Iran over the continuing violation of international law and international conditions on shipping and shipping. calling for the immediate release of the seized Iranian tanker and the seized oil & # 8221 ;.
On the other hand, the information broadcast last night by the Greek public television, connects last night's Iranian occupation of the Greek oil tankers with the decision of the Greek authorities to seize a ship of Russian interests, which transported Iranian oil and sailed off Karystos last April. As the Greek authorities had announced at the time, the seizure of the oil tanker LANA with a crew of 19 Russian citizens was carried out in application of relevant European legislation, which prohibits the arrival of Russian-flagged ships in European ports, in the context of EU sanctions against Russia. p>
Intense action of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Late last night, by order of the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias, his Secretary General Of the Ministry, Themistoklis Demiris, held a strong protest action against the Ambassador of Iran in Athens, talking about & # 8220; act of piracy & # 8221 ;. In addition, Greece issued a travel instruction to Greek citizens not to visit Iran until recently.
This is the first serious diplomatic crisis between Athens and Tehran after traditionally friendly relations for a number of decades.