A BRITISH-FLAGGED oil tanker which was seized by Iranian troops in the Strait of Hormuz more than two months ago is finally on the move this morning (Friday).
The Stena Impero was initially accused of breaking maritime rules and has been anchored in Bandar Abbas port since July.
According to reports, seven “non-essential” members of its crew were freed by Iran on humanitarian grounds earlier this month. Sixteen crew members – 13 Indians, two Russians and one Filipino – are thought to be still on board.
It’s Swedish owner, Stena Bulk, said the vessel is now heading to Dubai where the crew will be debriefed and receive medical checks.
In a statement, CEO Erik Hanell, said: “The families of crew members have been informed and the company is currently making arrangement for the repatriation of its valued seafarers at the earliest possible opportunity.”
The Stena Impero was detained by Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps as it was passing through international waters in the Strait of Hormuz, a waterway which connects the Gulf and the Indian ocean.
Iran accused the tanker of colliding with a fishing boat and failing to respond to calls, though the vessel’s owner said there was no evidence to support this.
The UK reportedly sent a Royal Navy frigate to assist the tanker and warned authorities in Iran that their actions were illegal, but it was unable to get to the scene in time.
The tanker’s seizure on July 19 came a fortnight after an Iranian tanker was held off Gibraltar with the assistance of the UK Royal Marines, on suspicion of violating EU sanctions on Syria.
It was released in August.