Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) has condemned Iranian forces for firing warning shots in the Gulf at a Singapore-flagged Alpine Eternity which it said was in international waters, calling it a “serious violation of international law”.
Five Iranian boats had fired shots across the bow of Alpine Eternity in the international waters off the Gulf, and MPA said it is "deeply concerned with such actions".
The Alpine Eternity was attacked by a number of small craft in international waters off the UAE in the latest escalation in the region.
MPA also urged Tehran to investigate the incident. “With regard to the reported shooting incident on 14 May 2015, involving a Singapore-registered tanker ‘Alpine Eternity’ that took place in international waters, Singapore is deeply concerned with such actions,” the MPA said in a statement.
“Such interference with navigational rights is a serious violation of international law. The freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce are of critical importance to Singapore and other maritime and trading nations,” it said.
The MPA said it had “requested the Iranian maritime authorities to investigate the incident and prevent future recurrences”.
No pollution or injuries to crew were caused as a result of the collision, according to an earlier report by Reuters.
The owner of the vessel, South Maritime Pte Ltd, and manager, Transpetrol TM, said in a statement that the tanker collided with an uncharted object on March 21 in the Arabian Gulf, which was later identified as an Iranian jacket platform.
The statement said in ordinary circumstances insurers would be able to post security on behalf of the owner, but Western sanctions imposed on Iran, including banking measures, had made this difficult.
But Iran said it tried to seize a Singapore-flagged oil tanker in the Persian Gulf
on Thursday because the tanker had caused $300 million in damages to an offshore gas rig in March. The incident was Iran’s third attempt in a month to seize a foreign ship in the strait, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.