UK tanker Stena Impero leaves Iranian port after being seized in July

DUBAI (Reuters) – The British-flagged Stena Impero tanker left Iran’s Bandar Abbas port on Friday after being detained since July by Iranian forces and was heading towards international waters.

The Stena Impero was seized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in the Strait of Hormuz waterway for alleged marine violations two weeks after Britain detained an Iranian tanker off the territory of Gibraltar. The Iranian ship was released in August.

“The ship is on the move,” Erik Hanell, the chief executive of the ship’s owner, Sweden’s Stena Bulk, told Reuters in a text message. “We will comment further when the ship reaches international waters.”

The vessel was heading for Dubai’s Port Rashid in the United Arab Emirates, about 250 km (155 miles) away, Refinitiv tracking data showed. At normal tanker speed, it would reach that destination within half a day.

Iran’s seizure of the ship on July 19 ratcheted up tensions in the region after attacks in May and June on other merchant vessels in Gulf waters, which Washington blamed on Tehran. Iran has denied responsibility.

The Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran in Hormozgan Province said in a statement that the ship had begun moving from Bandar Abbas at 9 a.m. Iran time (0530 GMT) on Friday and said it was heading towards international waters.

It said the judicial file on the vessel was still open and the process of looking into “violations” by the ship continued.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry had said on Wednesday that the detention order had been lifted but the investigation continued.

Stena Bulk said on Wednesday it was not in negotiations with Iran and said was not aware of any formal charges against the crew or the company.

Iran had earlier released seven of the ship’s 23 crew members.

Relations between the United States and Iran have become more strained since Washington withdrew last year from a global pact to rein in Tehran’s nuclear programme and imposed sanctions on the country aimed at shutting down Iranian oil exports.

Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru, Anna Ringstrom, Johan Ahlander and Simon Johnson in Stockholm and Babak Dehghanpisheh in Geneva; Editing by Neil Fullick and Edmund Blair

MORE NEWS

Brexit debate language ‘unacceptable’, say Church of England bishops

Major Marathon Petroleum shareholders seek CEO ouster – WSJ

Pound returns to the fray after court verdict respite

Factbox: With bigger stake in Subaru, Toyota expands reach over Japan automakers

Banks facing ‘enormous’ challenges, says Commerzbank boss

Owner of Stena Impero held in Iran says tanker is preparing to leave

UK to repatriate 16,000 people on fifth day after Thomas Cook collapse

Turkey will make up for tourists lost by Thomas Cook collapse – minister

UK government will comply with law on Brexit – cabinet minister Sharma

Toyota to boost stake in Subaru to 20%

Prince Harry to visit Angola de-mining project, in Diana’s footsteps

FT100 hovers near two-month high as BoE rate cut prospect hits pound

European shares rise on trade-fuelled optimism, London shines

Despite French, British pleas, few signs of U.S.-Iran detente

Russia detains North Korean fishing vessels, 262 crew for poaching – Ifax

Eni shares higher as CEO placed under investigation for Congo dealings

Exclusive: As North Korea expands arsenal, Japan’s missile defence shield faces unforeseen costs – sources

BoE’s Saunders eyes UK rate cut if Brexit uncertainty persists

Hungary PM Orban defends his candidate for EU executive

Shares in Rheinmetall drop after company discloses malware attack

SHARE THIS POST