Stena Bulk is asking Iranian authorities to get access to its impounded product tanker, Stena Impero, and the 23 crew onboard.
The UK-flagged ship was seized on July 20 in an apparent retaliation for British armed forces arresting an Iranian VLCC off Gibraltar earlier in the month over a cargo heading for sanctions-hit Syria. Iran has claimed the Stena Bulk ship broke rules, including colliding with a local fishing trawler while transiting the Strait of Hormuz, something the Swedish owner denies. The vessel remains at anchor in Bandar Abbas.
“The crew members remain in good health and continue to have limited contact with family members, who we continue to support during this difficult time,” Stena Bulk stated in an update yesterday.
“Following a letter from Iranian authorities to the United Nations Security Council outlining alleged violations of international rules and regulations, including an unconfirmed collision, Stena Bulk and Northern Marine Management consider it imperative we are granted access to the vessel to conduct a full assessment,” the Swedish owner said, adding: “[T]here is no current evidence the ship has breached any maritime rules or regulations, and we stand behind the professionalism and conduct of the crew of the Stena Impero.”
Another UK-flagged Stena Bulk tanker transited the same strait over the weekend under the watchful eye of a British naval vessel.
I suspect we're going to be seeing a lot more of this until tensions cool.
In the meantime, routine reminder: there is still a British-flagged vessel, the Stena Impero, being held by the Iranian government having been illegally seized.
That matters. pic.twitter.com/tSV08aZo8J
— Henry Jones (@hthjones) July 25, 2019