Wednesday, August 23, 2006
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. Gabriel Comanescu, president of Grup Servicii Petroliere, which runs the rig, said that the Iranian military were "in flagrant breach of international rules." He said: "Aboard the rig there is a Romanian crew made up of 26 persons. Since 10.00 we have had no contact with the crew. We do not know if anyone is hurt."The Orizont rig has been moored near Kish island in the Persian Gulf since October 2005, he told reporters. 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.