Iran tanker saga goes to Supreme Court

Iran tanker saga goes to Supreme Court

The controversy surrounding the Iranian-flagged Lana tanker, seized in April by Greece for carrying Iranian oil, will continue on Tuesday at Greece’s Supreme Court.

The top court will hear the appeal filed by the shipping company Times Navigation Inc against the decision of the Board of Appeals on the island of Evia, which in early June decided not to accept an American request for the seizure of the ship’s cargo, lodged on the grounds that it had been loaded by Iran in violation of the embargo imposed by the United States on Tehran. The appeals court ruled in favor of lifting the seizure of the cargo by ordering its delivery to the Iranian-owned company Saman Gostar Samirom Services.

Times Navigation, owned by the Greek shipowner Ioannis Karageorgis, signed an agreement in early May with the US Department of Justice to charter the two tankers on which the Iranian oil was to be transferred from the Lana tanks under the US seizure request. 

Kathimerini understands the document was signed by the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section of the US Department of Justice.

The transfer of part of the cargo to the Ice Energy tanker was completed at the Karystos anchorage on June 2. 

However, a week later the Evia Board of Appeals ordered the cargo to be returned back to the tanks of the Lana. The decision was seen as probably also the result of pressure from the seizure in retaliation by Tehran of two Greek-owned tankers.

In response, Times Navigation filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, citing various documents, including a letter from the US Department of Justice warning the shipping company that failure to uphold its contractual obligations to the US would result in a 20-year prison sentence as well as a number of other penalties for the company and those connected to it.

The appeal to the Supreme Court states this would amount to the company’s destruction.

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