Crew of Iran-seized tanker is safe, owners of vessel say

Stena Bulk, the Swedish firm, which is the owner of the UK-registered oil tanker arrested by Iran, has stated that it has been allowed to contact the crew, which includes a Latvian, to estabilsh that they were safe.

French news agency AFP reports that Stena Bulk said in a statement that the ship’s captain «advised that everyone was safe with good cooperation with the Iranian personnel onboard».

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized control of the Stena Impero tankeron Friday, July 19, as it was passing through an international passage in the middle of the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow bottle neck at the entrance of the Persian Gulf.

For the past days, the ship has since been held off shore near Iran’s southern port of Bandar Abbas. Stena Bulk has been trying for days to have its representatives visit the Stena Impero and see the 23 detained crew members, citizens of Latvia, India, Russia and the Philippines — to verify their well-being and seek their release.

The company has also denied the tanker had committed the violations Iran has cited for the seizure of the vessel. According to Stena Bulk the ship was «in compliance with maritime regulations» when it was seized, with transponders functioning and using the right shipping traffic passage. «We can confirm that we are not aware of, and nor is there any evidence of a collision involving the Stena Impero,» it said.

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