The three Iranian large cargo ships, Tochal, Sahand and Sabalan, were released in Singapore minutes before they were put up for auction and after Iran posted $200 million to pay off a loan from the French bank Credit Agricole.
Singapore authorities had seized the vessels, belonging to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), in Summer 2010. At the time, the French bank had recalled the $200 million balance on the loan because the vessels had lost their liability insurance coverage (“Blue Card”) after the insurers citing US and EU sanctions against Iran had terminated the coverage. The French bank also did not accept a new insurance policy written by Iran’s state-run insurance company for non-compliance with international maritime standards.
Iran tried unsuccessfully to stop the auctioning of the vessel in a Singapore court but at the end had to pay off the loan to release them.