UK oil tanker Stena Impero anchors off UAE following release by Iran
The British oil tanker seized by Iranian forces in July has arrived in Dubai, with the crew reported to be in good spirits ahead of their return home.
Stena Impero is now anchored off Port Rashid, Dubai Maritime City, after being held for almost three months by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
Ship-tracking data suggests the ship arrived off Port Rashid on Friday evening.
“The master has reported all crew members are safe and in high spirits following their release,” said Erik Hanell, president and chief executive of Stena Bulk, the Swedish company that owns the vessel.
“The crew will receive medical checks and debriefing by the company, following which arrangements have been made for them to return directly to their families in their respective countries.
“Stena Bulk and Northern Marine Management would like to take this opportunity to praise the crew for their professionalism in the handling of this difficult and stressful situation,” he said.
The ship was commandeered in the Strait of Hormuz waterway two months ago for alleged marine violations two weeks after Britain seized an Iranian super tanker, the Grace 1, off the territory of Gibraltar.
Government officials in Gibraltar said the Grace 1 was heading to the Syrian port of Tartous, where it was due to offload 2.1 million barrels of crude oil - in breach of sanctions laid down by the European Union against President Bashar Al Assad.
Stena Impero had been en route to Saudi Arabia when it was boarded by armed guards and detained on July 19. It had previously called into port at Houston and Kandla, India.
Iran claimed the oil tanker had been sailing in the wrong channel and collided with a fishing boat. The UK denied that version of events, while Iran denied Grace 1 had been smuggling oil.
“We wish to take this opportunity to thank all authorities who have assisted over the past 10 weeks in securing the release of the vessel,” said Hannell.
“In particular we would like to recognise the efforts of the Swedish Foreign Ministry throughout this incident and also the support from various UK Government departments, co-ordinated by the Department for Transport’s maritime division.
“We are grateful for the consular visits on board from the embassies of India, Russia, Latvia and the Philippines.”