Stena Impero Crew Have Spoken with Families Back Home, Stena Bulk Says

A boat of Iranian Revolutionary Guard sails next to Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, at Bandar Abbas port
A boat of Iranian Revolutionary Guard sails next to Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, at Bandar Abbas port, July 21, 2019. Iran, Mizan News Agency/WANA Handout via REUTERS

Stena Bulk confirmed Wednesday that it has had direct communication with the crew of the Stena Impero as of late Tuesday.

Communication comes after formal request to the Iranian Authorities.

Stena Bulk said it spoke with the Master late Tuesday who advised that the crew are safe and there is good cooperation with the Iranian personnel onboard.

“We do of course appreciate this step of development and that this is a first sign that we will soon see more positive progress from the Iranian authorities,” Erik Hanell, President and CEO of Stena Bulk, the Swedish operator of the Stena Impero.

An update from the company on Thursday said that all crew members have now been speak directly with their families for a limited time. 

The 23 crew members of the British-flagged Stena Impero have been held aboard the ship since it was seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels as it transited the Strait of Hormuz on July 19. The ship is currently at anchor off the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.

Iran had said all crew members are in good health, but until now there has been no direct communication with the crew.

Iran said over the weekend that the ship was being held as part of investigation into a collision with a fishing vessel, although Stena Bulk has denied there is any evidence of a collision.

“Stena Bulk and Northern Marine Management wish to confirm there is no evidence of a collision involving the Stena Impero, and at the time of the seizure the vessel was well within the inbound traffic separation scheme and out-with Iranian territorial waters,” Stena Bulk reiterated in a statement released Thursday. 

“All required navigational equipment, including transponders, was fully functioning, in compliance with maritime regulations,” it said. 

Stena is still awaiting a decision from Iranian authorities on its request to visit the vessel. 

Stena Impero’s 23 crew members are reported of Indian, Russian, Latvian and Filipino nationality.