Iran says seized British-flagged tanker ‘free’ to leave
search

Iran says seized British-flagged tanker ‘free’ to leave

Unclear when Swedish-owned Stena Impero will set sail from Bandar Abbas port after more than 2 months

The British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero which was seized by the Iran's Revolutionary Guard is photographed in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, July 20, 2019. (Tasnim News Agency/via AP)
The British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero which was seized by the Iran's Revolutionary Guard is photographed in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, July 20, 2019. (Tasnim News Agency/via AP)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran said on Monday that a British-flagged oil tanker was “free” to leave, more than two months after it was seized in the Gulf.

“The legal process has finished and based on that the conditions for letting the oil tanker go free have been fulfilled and the oil tanker can move,” government spokesman Ali Rabiei told a news conference.

He did not specify when the Swedish-owned vessel would be allowed to set sail.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps surrounded the Stena Impero with attack boats before rappelling onto the deck of the tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on July 19.

The vessel was impounded at Iran’s Bandar Abbas port for allegedly failing to respond to distress calls and turning off its transponder after hitting a fishing boat.

In this July 21, 2019 photo, an aerial view shows a speedboat of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard moving around the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero which was seized in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday by the Guard, in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. (Morteza Akhoondi/Tasnim News Agency via AP)

Stena Bulk, the company that owns the tanker, said on Sunday that it expected the vessel to be released soon, but expressed caution about the situation.

“We understand that the political decision has been taken to release the ship,” Stena Bulk’s chief executive Erik Hanell told Swedish television station SVT.

“We hope it will be able to leave in a few hours, but we don’t want to take anything for granted. We want to make sure the ship sails out of Iranian territorial waters,” he said.

The ship’s seizure had come hours after a court in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar said it was extending the detention of the Grace 1, an Iranian oil tanker later renamed the Adrian Darya 1. At the time, Tehran denied the seizure of the Stena Impero was a tit-for-tat move. A Gibraltar court ordered the Iranian tanker’s release on August 15 despite an 11th-hour US legal bid to keep it in detention.

read more:
comments