Dubai/London - Iran will free seven crew members of the detained British-flagged tanker Stena Impero, Iranian state television reported on Wednesday, although the vessel’s owner said it had yet to receive any official confirmation of the release date.
The Swedish-owned Stena Impero was detained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on July 19 in the Strait of Hormuz waterway for alleged marine violations, two weeks after Britain detained an Iranian tanker off the territory of Gibraltar. That vessel was released in August. Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told the TV that the seven, who include Indian citizens, were allowed to leave the tanker on humanitarian grounds and could leave Iran soon. “We have no problem with the crew and the captain and the issue is violations that the vessel committed,” Mousavi said.
The Stena Impero’s 23 seafarers are of Indian, Russian, Latvian and Filipino nationality, the vessel’s Swedish owner Stena Bulk has said. “We are very pleased that for seven crew members their ordeal may soon be over, and they may return to their families, however we cautiously await official confirmation of their release date,” Erik Hanell, Stena Bulk’s president and chief executive, said in a statement. “We view this communication as a positive step on the way to the release of all the remaining crew, which has always been our primary concern and focus.” The company said the remaining 16 crew members would remain onboard to safely operate the vessel.(Read more)