Iran may release British-flagged tanker within hours, Swedish owner says

Stena Impero British-flagged tanker detained tanker detained by Iran Stena Bulk Erik Hanell

Stena Impero British-flagged tanker detained tanker detained by Iran Stena Bulk Erik Hanell

The chief executive of the Swedish firm that owns the British-flagged Stena Impero said he had been informed that the vessel may be released later on Sunday.

Legal procedures were being carried out to allow the vessel out of Iranian waters, Afifipour continued, adding that there is an ongoing investigation into the alleged violation by the oil tanker, Efe news reported.

"We understand that the political decision has been taken to release the ship", he told SVT.

He did not provide any additional information on when the tanker may be released. "We hope to be able to head out within a few hours, but we don't want to anticipate events".

Iranian authorities accused the Stena Impero and its crew of failing to observe global maritime law at the time of its seizure on July 19, two weeks after British forces near Gibraltar captured an Iranian oil tanker that has since been released and renamed the Adrian Darya 1. "We want to make sure the ship sails out of Iranian territorial waters", he said.

Gibraltar released the ship - formerly called the Grace 1 but since renamed the Adrian Darya 1 - on August 18 after receiving written assurances from Iran that it would not head to countries under European Union sanctions.

Hours before Iran announced plans to release the British tanker, Iranian President Hassan Rohani called on Western powers to leave the security of the Persian Gulf to regional nations under Tehran's leadership, according to The Associated Press.

Just the day before, Hanell had met with Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, in Stockholm with the intention of securing the ship's release.

Stena Bulk spokesman Will Marks declined to substantiate the corporate had been knowledgeable of a attainable launch on Sunday.

On Sept. 4, seven of them were released, while the remaining crew members have reportedly remained aboard the ship. The ship had a total crew strength of 23, with the remaining members hailing from Russia, Latvia and the Philippines.

"Iran's illegal seizure of a ship inside an internationally recognised shipping lane is unacceptable and undermines worldwide law", a spokesperson for the British government said in an email.