UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — The owner of the Swedish ship, Stena Impero, seized by Iran in July, has announced the release of seven crew members.
“Seven crew members will be released according to the Iranian authorities (…) but we don’t know when,” Chief Executive Eric Hanel said.
On board the British-flagged tanker was a crew of 23 people, including 18 Indians. The rest come from the Philippines, Latvia and Russia.
“We consider this letter (from the Iranian authorities) as a positive plan in the context of the release of the rest of the crew, which has always been our priority and primary concern,” the company said in a statement.
Iran detained the carrier on July 19 in the Strait of Hormuz, where the Revolutionary Guards accused it of ignoring distress calls and switching off its transmitter after a collision with a fishing boat.
This came 15 days after the detention of the Iranian tanker “Adrian Dara 1”, which was named after the Grace 1 “when it was detained off the coast of the British Gibraltar, on suspicion that it was transporting oil to Syria in violation of European sanctions on this country.
Her detention sparked a diplomatic crisis between Tehran and London, fueled by Iran’s subsequent seizure of three tankers in the Gulf, including Stina Impero.
The Iranian tanker was released in mid-August, but its final destination remains unknown. It was Tuesday off the coast of Lebanon and Syria for 24 hours, according to specialized sites to follow the traffic.
According to Washington, the sale of oil from this ship is funded by Iranian forces. The US Treasury on Friday imposed sanctions on her and her captain.
Iran has confirmed the sale of oil on board “Adrian Dara 1”, without revealing the identity of the buyer, stressing that it can not be “transparent” on the direction of its oil at a time when Washington is trying to “intimidate” potential buyers.
The issue has heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington, which began since the U.S. unilateral withdrawal in 2018 from the 2015 deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program, followed by a reimposition of tough sanctions.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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