Romanian Oil Rig Comes Under Iranian Fire
Alison Mutler, The Washington Post:
A Romanian oil rig off the coast of Iran came under fire Tuesday from an Iranian military warship and was later occupied by Iranian troops, a company spokesman said.
The Iranians first fired into the air and then fired at the Orizont rig, said GSP spokesman Radu Petrescu. Half an hour later, troops from the ship boarded and occupied the rig and the company lost contact with the 26 crew members shortly afterward.
Petrescu said he had no information about any injuries or deaths. The Orizont rig has been moored near Kish island in the Persian Gulf since October 2005, he told the Associated Press. READ MORE
Eugen Chira, the political consul at the Romanian Embassy in Tehran, confirmed the incident, but provided few details. "Some forces opened fire. That an incident has happened is true. We have no details or the reason yet," he said.
GSP, also known as the Oil Services Group, is a private Romanian company established in 2004 which operates six offshore rigs that it bought from Romania's largest oil company, Petrom.
Two of its rigs are operating near the Iranian coast in the Persian Gulf as part of a deal signed between Petrom, GSP and Dubai-based Oriental Oil Co.
The Romanian company was in Iranian courts earlier this year over a dispute involving another one of its oil rigs, Fortuna, the financial weekly Saptamana Financiara has reported. It was unclear whether Tuesday's incident was related to legal issues.
The Orizont rig was built in 1987 and weighs 13,000 tons.
Kish, in the southern end of the Persian Gulf, houses the offices of about 100 Iranian and foreign oil companies.