Panel to Review Tanker Detention

The International maritime body IOMOU has accepted India’s petition to form a panel and investigate the detention of a crude tanker by Iran

Global maritime panel to review tanker detention by Iran

Accepting India’s petition, International maritime body IOMOU is likely to form a panel this week to look into the issue of 26-day wrong detention a crude tanker by Iran.

The vessel MT Desh Shanti, belonging to state-owned Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), was detained by Iran on August 12 at Bandar Abbas Port on grounds of alleged pollution and was released on September 6.

“We have received an appeal from India for review of the detention of its ship by Iran, saying it was a wrong detention. We are likely to form a Detention Review Committee by this week,” an IOMOU official told PTI.

IOMOU is a grouping of 17 nations on the Indian Ocean rim. A provision of the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IOMOU) states that “the owner or operator of a ship will have the right of appeal against detention to higher administrative authority or to the court of competent jurisdiction, according to the law in each country”.

The committee to review detention will have members from India and Iran and two other nations. It will submit a report on whether Iran has violated norms of Port State Control (PSC).

In a letter to Iran, India has already made it clear that PSC is a legitimate mechanism to be utilised prudently and “any arbitrary enforcement of this well-established regime can have serious ramifications …”

Sovereign nations have the right to control activities within their own borders, including those of the visiting ships. Control of port State, over the foreign flag ships in their ports, for verifying compliance with requirements of international conventions is called port State control (PSC).

PSC, as per provisions, comes into the scene when ship owners, ship managers etc have failed to comply with the requirements of the international maritime conventions.

India and Iran, along with Australia, Sri Lanka and South Africa, are members of IOMOU, one of nine regional port state control bodies with its secretariat in Dabolim, Goa, set up at the behest of the International Maritime Organisation.

The vessel with a capacity to carry 1,40,000 tonnes of crude was detained by Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps in the Persian Gulf while carrying oil from Basrah in Iraq to Visakhapatnam, citing environmental and pollution concerns.

It was released after SCI, India’s largest shipping company, submitted a letter of undertaking to the Iranian Ports and Maritime Organization.

India has assured Iran that it will “proceed against any violators, as per the Indian laws, if the evidence forwarded from your end justifiably warrants so.”

Source: The Economic Times

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