The shipping industry is calling for the safe passage of merchant vessels in the Persian Gulf following the seizure of two Greek-flagged oil tankers by Iran last week.
The two tankers, Delta Poseidon and Prudent Warrior, were seized by Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf last Friday, 27 May 2022, after Iran warned of “punitive action” in response to the confiscation of an Iranian oil cargo by the United States from the Iranian-flagged tanker MT Pegas held off the Greek coast a day earlier. Currently, nearly 50 seafarers are being held on board the two tankers.
The International Chamber of Shipping and the European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA) issued a joint statement on Wednesday calling for a “quick and diplomatic resolution” in order for the vessels and crew to be released. Iran has said the crews are not being detained and they remain on board the vessels.
Iran’s Seizure of Greek Tankers Adds Risk to Key Oil Trading Route
Commercial shipping is a major facilitator of international trade that requires all countries to ensure the safe passage of merchant vessels under the Freedom of Navigation protected in Article 87(1)a, and the Right of Innocent Passage defined in Article 19 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the ICS and ECSA statement said.
“Our industry is an international one, and it is vital for our seafarers to not become pawns in political games,” said Guy Platten, Secretary General at the International Chamber of Shipping. “The safety and welfare of the crew and vessels remain the priority and it is important to safeguard them against such incidents.”
Sotiris Raptis, Secretary General of the ECSA, added:
“We follow with great concern the unacceptable seizure of two Greek ships in the Persian Gulf. Freedom of navigation under UNCLOS and the right of our seafarers to perform their duties safely are key principles that must be respected. We call for the prompt release of the vessels and their crews.”
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