Islamabad, Oct. 10: Greek authorities have approached Pakistan for immediate release of the detained crew of Tasman Spirit ó a Greek-registered, Maltese oil tanker which ran aground near Karachi harbour on July 27 this year.
Greek foreign minister George Papandreau conveyed the request to his Pakistani counterpart Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri by telephone, foreign ministry officials said.
The oil tanker, carrying approximately 67,500 tons of Iranian crude oil for Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC), split into two on August 13 spilling more than 28,000 tons of crude oil into the Arabian Sea off the Karachi coast.
Kasuri told Papandreau that the Pakistan government could not order the release of the crew as the matter is subjudice, officials said.
He said the crew members of the ship were detained on the courtís orders following the worst-ever environmental disaster in Pakistanís history, adding that they cannot not leave the country before being acquitted by the court.
The incident also exposed a laidback approach by the countryís state institutions ó from the import to rescue and clean-up operations after the tanker ran aground and eventually split into two.