Iran To Release Crew Members Of Two Seized Tankers From Greece
Iran has agreed to release the crew members belonging to two Greece-based tankers it had reportedly seized in May 2022 in response to the seizure of oil by the US from a tanker with an Iranian flag in Greece, a Greece-based seafarers union reported.
The diplomatic impasse that has stretched for months now has strained the existing relations between Tehran and Athens as tensions rise between the US and Iran.
The crew members will be replaced, facilitating their return to their home countries soon, the PENEN union for seafarers on commercial ships mentioned on the official website on Sunday.
It is unclear if the two tankers, the Delta Poseidon and the MT Prudent Warrior, would be released or not, it added.
On Monday, the Greek shipping minister confirmed that a sailor from Greece associated with the Delta Poseidon, which, as is already known, is illegally detained in Iran, has left for Greece, Minister Yannis Plakiotakis posted on Twitter.
Earlier, a foreign ministry spokesperson of Iran named Nasser KanaanI was unable to confirm the information regarding the release of crew members but said that he hoped there would be some positive developments shortly.
Α Greek official added that efforts to rescue the crew members were in progress, but the tankers’ release is expected to take longer than the replacement of their crew members.
Delta Tankers, however, was unavailable for comments.
The Iranian-flagged tanker named Lana, formerly known as Pegas, was reportedly seized by Greece earlier in April 2022 and was held for months. The US had taken part of the oil cargo owing to sanctions on Iran.
The removal of oil from the Lana prompted the Iranian forces in May 2022 to seize two tankers belonging to Greece in the Gulf and sail them back to Iran.
Tehran had then warned of punitive actions against Greece.
Lana, which had developed some engine issues, was released in July 2022. Anchored off the port of Piraeus in Greece since then, it has retrieved the oil cargo that the US had confiscated and is expected to sail to Iran.
Polembros shipping, the manager of the MT Prudent Warrior, mentioned in its statement on Monday that crew members can communicate with their family members nearly daily, and they are in good health and are treated well.
It added that the company is making every effort for their release.
They have been innocent victims caught in political confrontations, it said in the statement. They added that they hope recent developments lead to the vessel’s release and her crew members.
References: Reuters, Iran International, IndianExpress