Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, is seen at Bandar Abbas port

Stena Impero Operator Awaiting Iran Permission to Visit Crew

Mike Schuler
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July 23, 2019

Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, is seen at Bandar Abbas port, July 21, 2019. Picture taken July 21, 2019. Iran, Mizan News Agency/WANA Handout via REUTERS

Stena Bulk, the Swedish operator of the Stena Impero tanker, says it is still awaiting permission from the Iranian government to visit the ship and verify the safety and well-being of the crew.

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.

“We continue to focus our efforts on supporting the families of those affected in India, Russia, Latvia and the Philippines and will continue to offer full support until all 23 crew members are released and safely back with their families,” Stena Bulk said in a statement on its website.

The statement reiterated that the Stena Impero was in full compliance with international maritime regulations when it was boarded.

“Stena Bulk and managers, Northern Marine Management, would like to emphasise that all necessary notifications to relevant authorities and organisations were made for the Stena Impero’s transit of the Strait of Hormuz, which was carried out in full compliance with all international maritime regulations,” the statement said.

“At the time of the seizure, the vessel was within the inbound traffic separation scheme and out-with Iranian territorial waters with all required navigational equipment, including transponders, fully functioning, in compliance with maritime regulations,” it said.

On Saturday, an Iranian official claimed that the ship is being held as part of an investigation that it collided with an Iranian fishing boat.

“We can confirm that we are not aware of, and nor is there any evidence of a collision involving the Stena Impero,” Stena’s statement said.

The vessel remains at anchor off the port of Bandar Abbas with all crew members still on board. Iran has said all crew members are in good health.

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