Posted on September 05, 2019 by Ilias Kiritsis
According to the owners of the Iranian-seized, British-flagged Oil Tanker, Stena Impero, Iran is planning to release seven of the 23 crew members onboard the tanker.
Erin Kanell, CEO of the Swedish-based shipping company Stena Bulk, has gone on record to say that Iran has been in communication with the company as to the release of the captive crew members, but it is unclear at this time as to when that will take place.
“Seven crew members will be released according to the Iranian authorities… but we don’t know when.
"Their ordeal may soon be over, and they may return to their families, however, we cautiously await official confirmation of their release date.
“We view this communication as a positive step on the way to the release of all the remaining crew, which has always been our primary concern and focus,” Erin Kanell said in a statement to the Associated Free Press.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Wednesday the 3rd of September, confirming the release of 7 out of the 23 crew members, all of which are Indian nationals.
According to the Iranian Ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, this release is part of Iran’s humane policy.
Mousavi went on to say that they asked the Captain to select 7 crew members to be released and that he decided who would be the ones to leave. The 7 released crew members are considered to be non-essential personnel, allowing the tanker to still comply with the Minimum Safe Manning Certificate (MSMC) regulations.
The remaining 16 crew members are to remain on board the vessel until further notice.
The Stena Impero was initially seized back on July 19th, while it was transiting through the Strait of Hormuz. It has been held since then at the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.