‘Stena Impero’ - seven seafarers released

Sep 06 2019

Iran has freed seven of the 23 crew members held on a Swedish-owned, British-flagged MR seized in the Strait of Hormuz in July.

The seafarers - five Indians, one Latvian and one Russian - have left the ‘Stena Impero’, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman told state television that they were released on humanitarian grounds.

‘Stena Impero’ was passing through international waters in the Strait on 19th July, when it was detained by Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps.

The UK said a Royal Navy frigate deployed in the Gulf tried to come to the tanker's aid and warned the Iranians by radio that their actions were illegal, but it was unable to reach the MR in time.

‘Stena Impero’ was subsequently taken to Bandar Abbas, where it remains at anchor.

On Wednesday, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, told state TV that the ship's Master had selected seven crew members to be released.

"They have left the vessel and the final procedures are under way to send them back to their countries," he said, adding that the decision had been made in line with Iran's "humanitarian policies."

Erik Hanell, Stena Bulk President and CEO, said: ”Stena Bulk and Northern Marine Management can confirm that seven crew members of the ‘Stena Impero’ have been released and are now travelling to a safe location where they will be reunited with their families.

“They will receive medical checks and a debriefing before being repatriated to their home countries at the earliest opportunity. We will offer them and their families whatever support they need to ensure they can recover fully.

“We continue to work tirelessly to obtain the release of the remaining crew on board the ‘Stena Impero’ and will continue to provide all possible support to their families during this difficult time.

“As we have stated previously; from the information we have, there is no current evidence the ‘Stena Impero’ breached any maritime rules or regulations, and we stand behind the professionalism and conduct of the vessel’s crew,” he said.

Stena Bulk and Northern Marine Management said that they would not release the names of any crew members to protect the privacy of the families involved.


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