British-flagged tanker sets sail after Iran release

Tehran, Sept 27 (AFP/APP):The British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero, which had been held off the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas for more than two months, set sail Friday and reached international waters, the provincial maritime organisation and its owner said.

The ship’s seizure was widely seen as a tit-for-tat move after authorities in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar detained an Iranian tanker on suspicion it was shipping oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions.

Tehran repeatedly denied the cases were related but a Gibraltar court last month ordered the Iranian tanker’s release despite an 11th-hour US legal bid to keep it in detention.

“The Stena Impero started sailing from the mooring towards the Persian Gulf’s international waters as of 9:00 am (0530 GMT) today,” Hormozgan province’s maritime organisation said on its website.
“Despite the vessel’s clearance, its legal case is still open in Iran’s courts,” the organisation said.

The tanker’s captain and crew have “given a written, official statement that they have no claims,” it added.

The CEO of Stena Bulk, the Swedish company that owns the vessel, said it had reached international waters at around 0945 GMT and was headed for Dubai.

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