The British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero, which was seized by Iran for allegedly breaking maritime rules has left Iran two months after it was seized. Iran accused the vessel of colliding with a fishing boat and failing to respond to calls, but the ship’s owners said there was no evidence.
The Stena Impero was passing through international waters in the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway that connects the Gulf and the Indian Ocean, on 19 July when it was detained by Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps.
Tehran has strongly denied that it took the ship as retaliation for the detention of one of its own tankers by British forces off Gibraltar earlier the same month.
Stena Bulk – Stena Impero’s Swedish owner said on Friday it was on the move from the Bandar Abbas port, where it had been anchored since 20 July. Stena Bulk has also said it was not in negotiations with Iran and was not aware of any formal charges against the crew or the company.
Since its capture, 7 members of its crew were freed by Iran on humanitarian grounds while the remaining 16 crew members stayed on board to satisfy the vessel’s Minimum Safe Manning Certificate (MSMC). Erik Hanell, CEO of Stena Bulk, said the Stena Impero has set a new destination for Port Rashid in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), about 250 kilometers (155 miles) away, tracking data showed. At normal tanker speed, it would reach that destination within half a day. The crew would be debriefed and receive medical checks. The crew and families would also be offered full support in the coming weeks to assist with their recovery.