18:22 GMT +320 October 2019
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    Iran May Release Impounded Tanker Stena Impero in Coming Few Hours - Owner Company

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    STOCKHOLM (Sputnik) - Tehran may release the UK-flagged tanker Stena Impero, which has been in Iran's custody for two months, on Sunday, Erik Hanell, president and CEO of Stena Bulk shipping company, which owns the tanker, said.

    "In the morning, we were informed that it seems like Stena Impero tanker would be released in the coming few hours. As we understand, the political decision to release the tanker has been taken. We hope that the ship will start the journey in the next few hours and leave the territorial waters of Iran", Hanell said aired by SVT Nyheter broadcaster.

    Meanwhile, Allahmorad Afifipour, the head of the Ports and Maritime Organisation of Iran in Hormozgan Province confirmed that the vessel would be released soon.

    "After the issuing of the ruling for the end of detention of the English tanker Stena Impero this vessel will soon, and after the passing of 65 days, begin its movement from the port of Bandar Abbas toward international waters", he said.

    Seven out of 23 crew members of the impounded Stena Impero were released earlier in the month.

    © AFP 2019 / Johnny BUGEJA
    An Iranian flag flutters on board the Adrian Darya oil tanker, formerly known as Grace 1, off the coast of Gibraltar on August 18, 2019

    Stena Impero was seized by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the Strait of Hormuz on 19 July over an alleged violation of international maritime rules, after Tehran stated that the vessel rammed a boat and refused to answer the authorities, trying to escape.

    The move came as a tit-for-tat after Iran's own Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as Grace 1, oil tanker had been detained by the Gibraltar and UK marines over alleged breach of EU anti-Syria sanctions, which the Islamic Republic denied.

    Iran's tanker was released on 19 August after Gibraltar reportedly received assurances the cargo would not be delivered to Syria.

     

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