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Iranian ship held in SL flees country's waters

17 January 2013 03:23 pm - 27     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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(Reuters) - An Iranian-flagged cargo ship has fled from waters around Sri Lanka after weeks of detention by the island nation's navy acting on a court order obtained by Germany's DVB Bank SE, officials and a lawyer acting for the bank said on Thursday.

The Sri Lankan navy last week fired warning shots to prevent the MV Amina from leaving, but said that late on Wednesday the vessel made its way in rough sea out of the country's waters.

"If the ship is beyond 12 nautical miles from our shores, then we can't do anything according to U.N. laws unless the ship has committed any crimes in our country," Sri Lankan Navy spokesman Kosala Warnakulasuriya said.

"We tried to communicate and asked her to stop, but without responding to anything, she had gone."

The vessel is managed by Tehran-based Rahbaran Omid Darya Ship Management, public shipping registers and ship tracking data showed. The European Union and United States have said the firm is a front for the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), which has faced Western sanctions for some years.

The West has accused IRISL, Iran's biggest cargo carrier, of transporting weapons, a charge it denies.

IRISL officials told Reuters the ship was owned by a private company and could not discuss the matter. Rahbaran Omid Darya Ship Management could not be immediately reached for comment.

The MV Amina was seized in December after DVB Bank obtained an order on December 12 from the Colombo High Court to hold the vessel after the owners defaulted on a payment. Court documents showed that DVB Bank sought to recover millions of dollars.

A DVB Bank spokesman did not immediately comment on the issue.

"It has broken arrest and now it's a rogue ship and it has gone to Indian waters," said a lawyer for Neelakandan & Neelakandan, a Colombo-based legal firm acting for DVB Bank, declining to be named.

It was not possible to immediately confirm the exact location of the ship. Tracking data last shows it sailing away from Sri Lanka into the Laccadive Sea, a waterway bordering India.

"We have alerted the nearest coast guard vessel. Effort to track is on," Jacob Thomas, director of ports in the state of Kerala, told Reuters when asked if the MV Amina was in waters off the Keralan coast.

An arrest occurs when a ship is detained by a court order to secure a maritime claim. The arrest may ultimately result in a judicial sale of the ship to pay the claim.

IRISL has tried to dodge sanctions by changing its flags and setting up front companies, the U.S. Treasury and the European Union have said. Last year IRISL Managing Director Mohammad Hussein Dajmar said if pressure from Western sanctions continued the group would face increasingly grave problems.

Sri Lankan officials said there were 24 crew members on the ship, including eight Indians who were returned to their home country after the arrest. Iranian crew members were left aboard and a shipping agent provided them with food and other supplies.

According to the Times of India newspaper the ship had set sail from China on November 18 and reached Sri Lankan waters on December 6. It was not clear what cargo it was carrying.
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  Comments - 27

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  • buffaloa citizen Friday, 18 January 2013 08:02 AM

    The Navy of a country can intervene and arrest any internationally warranted or unlawful activity either taking place inside her waters or international waters. If a Navy of another country notices such an activity taking place inside the waters of another country, then he can inform the relevant country or seek permission to enter such a boundry and arrest the activity. Neither of this was done. Was this a illegal arms run by China using its puppet regimes such as Iran and Sri Lanka?

    malkanthi Friday, 18 January 2013 02:02 AM

    Somebody must have taken a bribe to let it flee.

    Dee Friday, 18 January 2013 08:51 AM

    and they have other duties than protecting our warters now.

    Gamamahage Friday, 18 January 2013 08:54 AM

    Instead of uttering empty words just for the sake of saying something, first you should try to understand the subject matter at least to a little bit.

    buruwa Friday, 18 January 2013 01:38 PM

    This is a sign that nobody is going to honour Sri Lankan court orders any more !!!!!!!!!
    So many criminals backed by politicians will also follow the same soon........(starting from Mervyn)

    jayantha silva Friday, 18 January 2013 02:47 AM

    That's what friends are for .......

    sach Friday, 18 January 2013 02:51 AM

    read the article

    Notharismama Thursday, 17 January 2013 03:42 PM

    Make your own deductions! Iranian ship held in Sri Lankan waters on court order for a German Bank.

    jc Thursday, 17 January 2013 03:47 PM

    How can a ship just take off without anyone noticing??

    Thunderball Thursday, 17 January 2013 03:54 PM

    This was a pop pop boat that goes round in side a bath tub.

    A theory Thursday, 17 January 2013 04:07 PM

    THEY realised that sri lankan oil was low quality and expensive. So no worries it will return after refuelling in India. ...... ..just kidding

    Ape Balla Thursday, 17 January 2013 04:25 PM

    No, no. They, as beginners of the civilization, know Sri-Lankan guardians' performance in Land, Sea and the Sky !

    Sunny Friday, 18 January 2013 10:01 AM

    Marshal is High Coulerts is bound to take all measures available to prevent ships running away. Courts will have to find out what he has done

    bandara Friday, 18 January 2013 04:21 AM

    nex t they might claim that the ship was never anchored in SL

    Andrew Pitugala Friday, 18 January 2013 04:25 AM

    Miracle of Asia.

    Kiwi Friday, 18 January 2013 04:26 AM

    They sure would have known how things are done in SL!!!!

    Confused Friday, 18 January 2013 05:04 AM

    Orders from the top to let the ship go free!! My friend, will not like it being held here!!!Its so obvious!!

    jayantha silva Friday, 18 January 2013 05:25 AM

    Yes you are correct . They had a very strong Buddhist civilization.

    lee Friday, 18 January 2013 05:59 AM

    Really what are friends for? Hell with the illegal sanctions on Iran. They have been good friends and trading partners of our country. 90% of our oil comes from there and on 9 months credit term!!!!!!! and I belive they are the 2nd largest importers of our tea. Also during the war supplied plenty of weapons as well. Thank you Iran of goes your ship............

    buffaloa citizen Friday, 18 January 2013 06:04 AM

    So this regime has become a puppet once again to the machinations of Iran, even getting involved in illegal international rackets.

    dude Friday, 18 January 2013 06:09 AM

    Because Iran is an official friend of our king i guess

    Calistus Jayatilleke Friday, 18 January 2013 11:10 AM

    This is how our erstwhile friends reciprocate the friendship.

    damien hayes Friday, 18 January 2013 06:17 AM

    Its a merchant ship anchored out of harbour. It can just leave if it wants to. What do you think the Navy can do? fire and sink it with civilians crew on board? SL does not have long range maritime aircraft to monitor these ships.

    Heres how I see it Friday, 18 January 2013 07:06 AM

    Lol. :)

    Nishantha Friday, 18 January 2013 07:27 AM

    This news is an example of showing our weak naval security system.... MOD over to you.

    Hapun Friday, 18 January 2013 01:06 AM

    Money releases chains in Sri lanka


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