A Russian tanker impounded by the Greek authorities on Tuesday is reported to have been carrying Iranian oil. The 115,500-ton vessel Pegas was stopped off the island of Evia, just off the mainland near Athens, with 19 Russian crew members on board.
Greek shipping ministry officials confirmed the seizure came “as part of EU sanctions”. Last month the European Union banned Russian-flagged vessels from ports belonging to its 27 member states as part of a cascade of measures against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Shipping and satellite data analysed by the advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) suggested that Pegas loaded around 700,000 barrels of crude from Iran’s Sirri Island on August 19 last year.
Chief of staff Claire Jungman wrote on Twitter that the tanker, recently renamed Lana, had then “attempted to offload the cargo at a port in Turkey”.
A US State Department spokesperson told Reuters they were “aware of reports that the tanker is loaded with Iranian crude oil”, but was unable to independently verify them.
The cargo had yet to be confiscated yesterday. Pegas had reported an engine problem shortly before being detained, and was headed to the southern Peloponnese peninsula to offload its cargo onto another tanker before being forced to moor in rough seas.
The Russian Embassy in Greece said on Tuesday that it was “checking the information appearing in Greek media” about the seizure, adding: “We are in contact with the Greek authorities on this issue.”
❗ Посольство проверяет появившуюся в греческих СМИ информацию о задержании нефтяного танкера «Пегас» в районе острова Эвбея с 19 моряками на борту. Находимся по данному вопросу в контакте с греческими властями. pic.twitter.com/drG3GgkAUm— Rus Embassy, Greece (@RFEmbassyGr) April 19, 2022