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Seoul sends anti-piracy unit to Gulf over oil tanker seizure by Iran

Seoul has dispatched its anti-piracy unit to the Gulf after Iran seized a South Korean-flagged oil tanker for breaking maritime environmental laws, the South Korean defense ministry says.

“The defense ministry immediately dispatched the Cheonghae unit to waters near the Strait of Hormuz shortly after receiving a report on the situation of Iran’s seizure of our commercial vessel,” the ministry says in a statement.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said it seized a South Korean-flagged tanker in Gulf waters “due to the repeated infringement of maritime environmental laws.”

In this photo released Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, by Tasnim News Agency, a seized South Korean-flagged tanker is escorted by Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats on the Persian Gulf (Tasnim News Agency via AP)

It identified the ship as the Hankuk Chemi, which it said was carrying 7,200 tons of “oil chemical products.”

The arrested crew were from South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Myanmar, the Guards said on its website Sepahnews, without giving further details.

— AFP

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