Stena Impero tanker still held in Iranian port

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — The Swedish-flagged tanker Stina Impero, which was seized by Iran in July, is still anchored in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, its owner Stina Balck said Tuesday.

Tanker Trackers, which specializes in tracking oil tankers, had earlier reported that the ship had left its anchor.

“We do not have such information,” said Eric Hanel, general manager of Swedish company Stena Palk.

“At the moment there is no permission and according to our information Iranian guards are still on board,” he said.

Tehran said on Monday that the tanker, seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on July 19, was “free to move” without setting a date for sailing.

The Iranian authorities accused the tanker of ignoring distress calls and stopping its transmitter after hitting a fishing boat. She announced that legal proceedings had been initiated against her.

“Despite the public statements made by the Iranian authorities in the last three days that the legal procedures are over and that Stena Impero is free to leave Iran, the tanker is still being held at Bandar Abbas port,” Eric Hanel, general manager of Swedish company Stena Balck, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Iran seized the tanker in the Strait of Hormuz and took it to Bandar Abbas with 23 crew members. Four of them were released on 4 September.

“We are still making efforts to release the crew and the tanker,” Eric Hanel said on Tuesday.

The tanker was detained 15 days after the detention of the Iranian tanker “Grace 1” off the coast of Gibraltar. She was detained on suspicion of transporting oil to Syria in violation of European sanctions.

After the tanker was allowed to sail on August 15, the Iranian-flagged ship left Gibraltar on 18 August, despite Washington’s last-minute request to ban it and then put it on the US blacklist.

The detention of a diplomatic crisis between Tehran and London, fueled by the detention of Iran in the Gulf three oil tankers, including “Stina Impero.” Iran denied it was a response.


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