Iranian frigate entered Estonian territorial waters without permission

IRINS Sahand.
IRINS Sahand. Source: Mehr News Agency/Wikimedia Commons

An Iranian military vessel entered Estonian territorial waters without authorization after 10 p.m. on Friday but promptly left after being contacted by Estonian authorities.

"Iranian frigate IRIS Sahand, on its way to Saint Petersburg, entered Estonian territorial waters without permission northwest of Osmussaar a little after 10 p.m. yesterday," Andra Jundas, press representative for the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) said Saturday.

Jundas explained that while ships are free to pass through another country's territorial waters, the Estonian State Borders Act requires military vessels to notify the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at least 48 hours before passing through. The Sahand failed to do so.

"Therefore, the PPA maritime monitoring center that monitors ships in Estonian waters ordered the frigate to change course and leave Estonian territorial waters. The ship returned to the Estonian exclusive economic zone," the press representative said.

The rest of the Sahand's journey was uneventful and the ship entered Russian waters around 8 a.m. on Saturday.

"Maritime law gives all vessels the right to peacefully navigate our economic waters. The PPA is tasked with identifying ships that pass through our economic and territorial waters. We employ marine radars, cameras, aerial vehicles or naval vessels for that purpose. The monitoring of ships is necessary to make sure maritime and Estonian law is complied with and no violations take place," Rene Hartõkainen, chief border guard of the PPA readiness and response bureau, told ERR.

The Danish navy reported on Friday that two Iranian military vessels, sea base IRINS Makran and the frigate Sahand, entered the Baltic Sea on Thursday. It is believed that the Iranian vessels are set to take part in the July 25 Russian navy parade in Saint Petersburg.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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