A Singapore-flagged tanker that was attacked by several smaller Iranian vessels had previously collided with an Iranian oil platform in March, with ongoing efforts to resolve issue.
A Singapore-flagged oil products tanker fired at by Iranian craft on Thursday had previously collided with an Iranian oil drilling platform in March and efforts have since been made to resolve the issue, the owner said on Friday.
The Alpine Eternity was attacked by a number of small craft in international waters off the United Arab Emirates in the latest escalation in the region.
The owner, South Maritime Pte Ltd, and manager, Transpetrol TM, said in a joint statement that the tanker collided with an uncharted object on March 21 in the Middle East Gulf, which was later identified as an Iranian jacket platform. No one was injured and no pollution was spilled.
“Since the March 21 incident, there has been a continuous dialogue between the owners/drilling contractor of the offshore structure, and representatives of the vessel and their liability insurers,” they said in the statement.
“Owners and managers can see no reason why the Iranian authorities should try to seize the vessel, given the advanced state of negotiations and ongoing dialogue with the Iranian counterparts.”
Last week, Iran released a Marshall Islands-flagged container ship, Maersk Tigris, and its crew, which were seized in the Strait of Hormuz over a years-old debt. This prompted the United States to send vessels to temporarily accompany U.S.-flagged ships through the strait. Iranian patrol boats had shadowed a separate container ship earlier last month.
The Alpine Eternity was anchored off Dubai on Friday after managing to reach United Arab Emirates waters on Thursday with its crew safe. The ship’s master had ignored a call to stop by the Iranian boats.
The statement said in ordinary circumstances insurers would be able to post security on behalf of the owner, but Western sanctions imposed on Iran, including banking measures, had made this difficult.
“This has been discussed in full with the Iranian counterparts,” the statement added. “The owners, managers and the liability insurers are committed to resolving these issues once all necessary clearances have been obtained from the appropriate authorities in the UK and USA.”
The statement said an underwater survey of damage to the jacket had been carried out with discussions “on-going in good faith for full surveys to take place, after which the scope of repair/replacement options will be clearer”.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said on Friday that no Singaporeans were aboard the Alpine Eternity, adding that it was “investigating the matter”.