Tanker Handling Questions
Following last week’s seizure of two Greek oil tankers by Iranian forces, officials directly involved in the case have challenged the Halkida Magistrate’s Court’s decision to seize 107,000 tonnes of oil of a tanker flying the Russian flag which was immobilized for a month and a half at Karystos in southern Euboea.
The transfer of Iranian oil from Lana (ex-Pegas) to two tankers, Ice Energy and Alkinoos, began last week and is continuing. The Lana had been on US radar since August 2021.
In comments to Kathimerini, officials said the US embargo on Iranian oil is valid in the United States but not in the European Union, and questioned the validity of the court’s decision.
The same sources also told Kathimerini that the risk of retaliation from Iran should Greece proceed to meet the US demand, despite relevant legal restrictions, had been duly highlighted. However, the warnings, they said, were ignored.
Additionally, Tehran has warned it will take “punitive action” against Athens following the US confiscation of Iranian oil from the tanker held in Karystos.
The Lana had loaded 700,000 barrels of crude oil from the Syrian island of Siri on August 19 to transport to a Black Sea port under Russian control under a bilateral agreement between Iran and Russia.
In late April, the non-profit organization United Against Nuclear Iran, a staunch opponent of Iran, issued a statement about it, with its leader Mark Wallace calling on Greece and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to immediately seize from Pegas. He said Greece was a member of the EU and NATO and the ship and cargo were subject to sanctions.