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Indonesia frees Iran-flagged tanker detained for illegally transferring oil

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian authorities say that two oil tankers — the Iranian-flagged MT Horse and Panamanian-flagged MT Freya — have been released after a four-month detention for illegally transferring oil in Indonesian waters.

The two ships were freed yesterday, and their captains were allowed to leave despite being sentenced Tuesday to a year in prison for not complying with shipping channel regulations, says Wisnu Pramandita, a spokesman for Indonesia’s Maritime Security Agency.

“They have been released conditionally. They do not need to be physically imprisoned, but they cannot commit the same violation in the next two years,” he says.

Iranian state television and the Petroleum Ministry’s SHANA news agency report the MT Horse has resumed its mission and will return home after finishing it.

The MT Horse and MT Freya were detained in late January along with 36 Iranian and 25 Chinese crewmembers. Days later, China’s government called on Indonesia to treat the Chinese sailors fairly, but gave no indication what their oil tanker was doing when it was found at sea transferring fuel from the Iranian ship.

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