An Iranian military vessel, en route to St Petersburg, Russia, briefly entered the Estonian territorial waters on 23 July after 10 PM; the vessel’s crew didn’t inform the country’s authorities 48 hours ahead that it’s to enter the Estonian waters, therefore Estonia’s Police and Border Guard Board gave it the order to leave.
The spokesman for the Police and Boarder Guard Board, Andra Jundas, told the Estonian newspaper, Postimees, that ships can peacefully pass through other countries territorial waters, but according to the Estonian law, foreign military vessels must inform the country’s foreign ministry at least 48 hours ahead of the time of their intention to enter its territorial waters.
The Iranian vessel, Sahand, didn’t adhere to the law, and thus the Police and Border Guard Board gave it an order to change course and leave the Estonian territorial waters. The vessel obeyed the order and returned to the economic zone, according to Jundas.
The vessel’s remaining journey took place in the Estonian economic zone and in the morning of 24 July, the vessel entered the Russian waters, the Estonian Public Broadcasting said.
The Danish Navy said on 23 July that two Iranian military vessels – Makran and Sahand – entered the Baltic Sea the day earlier. The vessels were en route to a Russian maritime parade, commemorating the 325th anniversary of the Russian Navy foundation, that took place on 25 July in St Petersburg.
Sahand, commissioned in 2018, is a Moudge-class frigate of the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy. Makran is a former oil tanker that was converted sea base for the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy.
According to the official news agency of Iran, IRNA, the voyage of Sahand and Makran marks the first time Iran has been able to reach the Atlantic using naval vessels without docking in any international ports.
Cover: The Iranian vessel, Sahand. Photo by Mehr News Agency, shared under the Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 licence.