Iran to release seven Stena Impero crew
Indian nationals are among seven crew members to be allowed to leave the tanker on humanitarian grounds and could leave Iran soon. The fate of the remaining crew and the vessel remains unclear
Vessel owner Stena Bulk welcomes reports of crew release but says it has yet to receive official confirmation from Iran
STENA Bulk has welcomed a report that members of the detained UK-flagged tanker Stena Impero crew will be released.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi was cited as saying on state television that seven people will be allowed to leave the tanker on humanitarian grounds and could leave Iran soon.
“We have no problem with the crew and the captain and the issue is violations that the vessel committed,” he said.
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman said Iran would release five Indians, one Russian and a Latvian. There were no indications about the fate of the remaining 16 crew, or of the vessel.
Vessel owner Stena Bulk said the Iranian government is meeting the company’s long-standing request to release non-essential personnel, but has yet to receive official confirmation from Iran.
“We are very pleased that for seven crew members their ordeal may soon be over, and they may return to their families, however we cautiously await official confirmation of their release date,” chief executive Erik Hanell said in a statement.
He said Stena saw this communication as a positive step on the way to the release of all the remaining crew.
“Sixteen crew members will remain on board satisfying the vessel’s Minimum Safe Manning Certificate,” said Mr Hanell. “The MSMC is issued by the flag state, which sets the minimum number (and ranks) of crew members required on board to safely operate the vessel.”
India’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined to comment when contacted by Lloyd’s List.
The UK Chamber of Shipping said Iran must also release the remaining 16 crew.
“The ship was in international waters when it was detained and was in full compliance with all navigation and international regulations,” chamber chief executive Bob Sanguinetti said in a statement. “The chamber will continue to work with the UK government to ensure the free passage of ships through the Strait of Hormuz.”
The tanker was detained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on July 19 in the Strait of Hormuz for alleged marine violations.
It was detained two weeks after Britain arrested an Iranian very large crude carrier off the UK territory of Gibraltar. The Iranian VLCC was released in August.