Greece, Shipping Oligarchs Want Iran Squeezed to Release Tankers

PIRAEUS – Greece’s government and powerful shipping industry, which rules the world’s waves, have asked for international support – including from other shipowners – to pressure Iran to release two Greek tankers.

Iran – which has threatened to detain more – is holding them in retaliation for in retaliation for Greece helping the United States confiscate oil from a tanker off Greece’s coast.

“We call on all nations to act in order to end this unacceptable incident, and to ensure it does not happen again,” Merchant Marine Minister Ioannis Plakiotakis told reporters, said The Voice of America.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards held the two Greek-flagged tankers in the Persian Gulf after Greece said it would deliver to Washington Iranian oil it had seized from a Russian tanker in April.

Plakiotakis said the incident posed a “threat” to shipping safety and trade and has “cast a shadow” over Greece’s top shipping fair Posidonia, which opens June 6 with more than 1,900 companies from nearly 90 nations participating.

Union of Greek Shipowners president Melina Travlos said some of the sailors held by Iran were youths on their first shipping assignment.

“The global shipping community must mobilize, nations, everyone. This situation needs to end,” she said.

Greece said the detention of the two ships was “tantamount to acts of piracy” and warned its citizens not to travel to Iran, ties between the countries fraying over the incident with Iran warning of more action.


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