British Tanker Docks in Dubai After Detention by Iran

September 30, 2019 Updated: September 30, 2019

DUBAI/STOCKHOLM—A British-flagged tanker that was detained by Iran for 10 weeks, docked in Dubai on Sept. 28, after a standoff that has stoked tensions along a vital global shipping route for oil.

The Stena Impero, which sailed out of Iranian waters on Sept. 27, was detained for alleged marine violations by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in the Strait of Hormuz on July 19. The seizure came weeks after Britain had seized an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar. That vessel was released in August.

The Stena Impero docked at Dubai’s Port Rashid, a Reuters photographer reported from the harbor.

Erik Hanell, the chief executive of Sweden’s Stena Bulk, which owns the ship, told Reuters in Stockholm in a text message earlier in the day that the tanker was “finally approaching berth in Dubai.”

Stena Bulk said the crew would receive medical checks and would be de-briefed in Dubai, which lies across the Gulf from Iran, before traveling home to their families. Seven of the 23 crew were freed earlier this month.

The crew who were still on the vessel came from India, Russia, and the Philippines, a Stena Bulk spokesman said before the ship had docked.

“The crew are in high spirits, understandably. They will be checked by medical professionals once ashore, but the captain has informed us all are in good health,” he said.

The move could be seen as a sign of Iran attempting to ease tensions, Mark Cancian, a senior adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ (CSIS) International Security Program, told The Epoch Times.

“Iran is trying to generate some goodwill in the UK, as the UK decides how to respond to the Iranian attack on Saudi oil facilities,” Cancian said via email on Sept. 23.

The seizure of the vessel, which the Iranian authorities said was for marine violations, followed attacks on other merchant tankers in Gulf waters in May and June. The United States blamed those attacks on Iran, which Tehran denied.

Relations between the United States, its allies, and Iran have been gradually more strained since Washington withdrew in 2018 from the Iran nuclear deal agreed upon by the previous administration and other world powers, and reimposed sanctions on Tehran aimed to shut down Iranian oil exports.

By Anna Ringstrom 

The Epoch Times contributed to this report