With Iran still detaining its tanker carrying crude from Iraq citing environmental concerns, India today asserted that the vessel has not violated any pollution norms.
Iranians, meanwhile, conducted a second round of inspection of MT Desh Shanti, which was detained by Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) on Tuesday in the Persian Gulf and took it to Bandar Abbas Port.
"Maritime authorities and International surveyors have inspected the ship, which is only nine years old, built in 2004. It was alleged that it caused pollution on July 30th but the fact remains that the tanker was not carrying crude on that date," a senior Shipping Ministry official told PTI. The tanker belonging to the country's largest ocean liner Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) was detained while carrying crude from Bashra in Iraq.
India, through its mission in Tehran, is engaged in hectic negotiations for release of the tanker.
Meanwhile, an SCI official said contacts were made with the Master of the Ship, who said the Ship is in Bandar Abbas but could not provide further details. The development has cropped at a time when India has taken steps to reduce its crude imports from Iran.
The country has cut oil imports from Iran, after sanctions imposed by the US and the EU. India's crude imports from Iran plunged by more than 26.5 per cent in the 2012-13 financial year (April-March) as US and European sanctions on Tehran combined to make it difficult for Indian refiners to ship Iranian oil.
Imports of Iranian crude fell to 13.3 million mt, or close to 267,100 b/d, in 2012-13 from 18.1 million mt, or around 362,500 b/d, in 2011-12. Earlier sources had said Iran had slipped to sixth place among India's top crude suppliers in the year to March 31 from second place behind OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia in the previous financial year.