Iran finally releases British-flagged oil tanker

Sep 23, 2019

Iranian authorities on Monday announced that Iran’s government has freed the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero, which was seized in the Strait of Hormuz in mid-July.

The announcement comes more than a month after British authorities released an Iranian tanker that had been detained off Gibraltar. Iran has been in an escalating cycle of confrontation with its Persian Gulf neighbors and the United States.

Government spokesman Ali Rabiei said legal investigations have concluded and the ship’s violations have been forgiven, according to Iran’s Fars news agency. However, he did not say if the ship had left port.

The ship was impounded by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on July 19 for alleged violations. The seizure in the strategically important shipping route in the Gulf has caused tensions between Iran and other countries in the region, as well as with Britain and the U.S.

Erik Hanell, head of Sweden-based shipping company Stena Bulk, which operates the tanker, was not immediately available for comment. Hanell on Sunday told Swedish public broadcaster SVT that the ship’s release appeared imminent.

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