Middle EastOperationsTankers

Stena Bulk seeks access to impounded tanker

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.



Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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