India’s foreign ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi said on Wednesday, Iran claimed that it has released seven Indian crew members abroad the ‘Stena Impero’ the British-flagged oil tanker seized by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in July.
Mr. Mousavi was quoted by reporters, referring to Iran’s semi-official Mehr, “We don’t have any problem with the crew and captain of the ship. The ship has been stopped because of its violation of laws and it is natural to detain the crew with the ship.”
“However, the consular status and individual permits of the crew were reviewed and after further consideration and also on humanitarian grounds, some of the crew were allowed to leave the ship and return to daily life,” he said.
The CEO of Stena Bulk, Erik Hanell said that he got the confirmation from Iranian authorities that the seven crew members will be released. “They are still on board the ship as far as we know, so now we are awaiting more information about when they will be safely transported out of the country. We have had ongoing communication with the Iranian authorities during the last few days, and we hope to get more information today,” Mr. Hanell said.
On July 19, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the Strait of Hormuz captured the Stena Impero amid the escalating tensions between the US and Iran. A total of 23 crew members including 18 Indian nationals were on board the vessel.
Tehran released a short clip of the captured crew members which showed them talking in a meeting room, cooking in the ship’s kitchen, and operating the vessel’s systems.
The vessel is currently at Bandar Shahid Bahonar, which is a short distance from Iran’s Bandar Abbas port.