UK-Flagged Tanker Detained By Iran Exits Port, Tracking Data Shows
By Staff, Agencies
The British-flagged Stena Impero tanker, detained by Iran in July, started moving and exited the Bandar Abbas port on Friday, according to Refinitiv ship-tracking data.
Stena Impero was detained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in the Strait of Hormuz waterway for alleged marine violations two weeks after Britain seized an Iranian tanker off the territory of Gibraltar. That vessel was released in August.
The Stena has set a new destination for Port Rashid in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, about 250km away, the tracking data showed. At normal tanker speed, it would reach the port within half a day.
A spokesman for the ship’s owner, Stena Bulk of Sweden, said on Friday that the vessel was preparing to leave.
MarineTraffic.com, citing satellite data, showed the Stena Impero just outside the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas Friday morning, where it had been held since being seized by Iran on 19 July. There was no immediate comment from Iranian authorities.
The data showed the ship was stationary at 8:18am local time.
Earlier on Wednesday, Iran’s foreign ministry said that a lifting of the detention order had been finalized, but that an investigation into the vessel was ongoing.
The ship’s owner, Stena Bulk of Sweden, later said it was not in negotiations with Iran and was not aware of any formal charges against the crew or the company.
Iran had earlier freed seven of the ship’s 23 crew members.
Iran’s seizure of the Stena Impero on 19 July had ratcheted up tensions in the region following attacks in May and June on other merchant vessels in Gulf waters which Washington blamed on Tehran. Iran has denied responsibility.
The US-Iran relations have become more strained since Washington withdrew last year from a global pact to rein in Tehran’s nuclear program and imposed sanctions on the country aimed at shutting down Iranian oil exports.