Seized oil tanker is released by Iranian government after Royal Navy presence in the Gulf

AN oil tanker seized by the Iranian government has been freed, it has been confirmed.

Friday, 27th September 2019, 9:50 am
Updated Friday, 27th September 2019, 9:50 am
British-flagged tanker Stena Impero anchored off the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas. Picture: Hasan Shirvani/AFP/Getty Images

Iran seized the tanker Stena Impero in July, amid rising tensions in the Gulf which saw the Royal Navy call Portsmouth warships to the region.

On Monday, Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei told journalists that legal proceedings against the Stena Impero had ended.

He said: ‘Based on a friendly approach that allows forgiving mistakes, ground for freedom of the tanker has been paved and it can move.’

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HMS Kent, a Type 23 frigate, was one of the ships that went to the Gulf. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Its seizure came after authorities in Gibraltar seized an Iranian tanker carrying £104m in crude oil, on suspicion of it breaking European Union sanctions on Syria.

Gibraltar later released the tanker, then called the Grace 1, after it said Iran had promised the ship would not go to Syria.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said on Wednesday that the vessel was close to being released.

‘Today, the procedures for discharging Stena Impro ship has been finalised with the foreign ministry's follow-ups and valuable co-operation between the judiciary and the Ports and Maritime Organisation Of Iran, but the case stays open to study some of its violations and damages to the environment,’ he tweeted.

Portsmouth-based warships HMS Duncan and HMS Kent were part of a fleet dispatched by the Royal Navy to tackle tensions in the Gulf.

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