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Iran confirms impounded UK oil tanker left for intl. waters

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
An image grab taken from a broadcast by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) on July 22, 2019 shows IRGC speedboats patrolling the UK oil tanker Stena Impero (Photo by AFP)

The British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero, which had been impounded in Iran’s Bandar Abbas port for two months over violation of international maritime law, has finally set sail and is leaving Iranian waters for Dubai, an Iranian organization and the ship owner confirmed Friday.

The Ports and Maritime Organization in southern Hormozgan Province said in a statement that the tanker left Bandar Abbas at 9 am, Friday, and started its move toward the international corridor of marine traffic in the Persian Gulf.

“The captain and crew members of the ship have given official and written commitments that they will have no further claims,” the Organization said, adding that despite the release of the tanker, its case is still open at Iranian courts, which will continue dealing with its offenses.

The 30,000-tonne UK-flagged tanker was seized by Iranian naval forces on July 19, when it ignored distress calls as it collided with a fishing boat on its route.

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said the ship had also used a wrong path to enter the Strait of Hormuz. 

The chief executive of the Swedish firm which owns Stena Impero announced on Friday that the tanker is transiting to Dubai for the crew to disembark.

Earlier this month, Iran released seven crew members of the oil tanker “on humanitarian grounds.”

Tensions broke out between Tehran and London on July 4, after Britain’s naval forces unlawfully seized Iranian-owned oil tanker Grace 1 and its cargo of 2.1 million barrels of oil in the Strait of Gibraltar, under the pretext that the supertanker had been suspected of carrying crude to Syria in violation of the European Union’s unilateral sanctions against the Arab country.

Gibraltar’s government finally released the Iranian tanker on August 15 despite pressure from the United States for the vessel’s continued detainment.

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