ATHENS: An Iranian-flagged tanker captured by Greece in April, with a portion of its cargo taken by the US, was towed to the port of Piraeus on Saturday, according to Greek coast guard officials, after Greek authorities approved its release.
The Iranian-flagged Lana, previously Pegas, has been anchored off the Greek island of Evia for over two months in a diplomatic standoff that has strained Athens’ relations with Tehran amid rising tensions between Iran and the United States.
“It left Karystos at 0630 am (0330 GMT) and is expected to arrive in Piraeus about 1000 pm,” according to one official.
Due to sanctions imposed by the United States, Greek authorities confiscated Lana and its oil cargo, which included 19 Russian crew members, near the coast of Evia in April.
The ship was later released owing to ownership issues, but some of the Iranian oil cargo had already been transferred to another ship, Ice Energy, which was rented by the US and is parked off the port of Piraeus.
Following the removal of oil from the Lana, Iranian authorities last month seized two Greek tankers in the Arabian Gulf and sailed them back to Iran, threatening Athens with “punitive action.”
On June 7, a Greek legal tribunal overruled the initial court judgment that enabled the shipment to be confiscated on behalf of the US, following an appeal by an Iranian corporation.
Lana will now be able to reclaim the cargo that was moved to Ice Energy as a result of this action.
Lana, which still has engine troubles, was detained by another company until last week due to charges owed for towing services. According to legal sources, it was legally freed after the debt was paid off.