Shipowner Stena Bulk has said in a statement there is no current evidence the ship has breached any maritime rules or regulations or was involved in a collision. According to Iranian authorities, this was the reason the ship was seized on Friday 19 July.
Iranian authorities have sent a letter to the United Nations Security Council outlining alleged violations of international rules and regulations, including an unconfirmed collision. Stena Bulk has requested access to the vessel to conduct a full assessment to investigate these claims, but so far, company representatives have not been granted access.
Outside of Iranian Territorial Waters
Going on the available information, Stena Bulk says there is no evidence of a collision. In addition, the company stresses that the vessel was well within the inbound traffic separation scheme and out-with Iranian territorial waters at the time of the seizure. If this is true, Iran was not authorised to seize the vessel at all.
The vessel remains at anchor in Bandar Abbas. The crew members are said to be in good health and have limited contact with family members. India, Russia and Philippines Embassy officials have been allowed to visit with the crew as well.
Concern for Crew
Still, in a later statement by Stena Bulk, issued on 30 July, the company expresses concern for the welfare of the crew who are confined to the vessel now that the detention of the Stena Impero had entered its 12th day.
Erik Hanell, President and Chief Executive, Stena Bulk: 'With little progress being made since the vessel was seized on 19th July, we urge governments involved to find a swift resolution so our 23 valued seafarers can return to their families and move on from this ordeal.'
Royal Navy Escorts in Strait of Hormuz
In the meantime, the British government has stated the Royal Navy will be escorting British flagged ships in the Strait of Hormuz to prevent other ships from being seized. Minister Dominic Raab (Foreign Affairs) has also told the BBC that there can be no question of a "kind of barter" with Iran to swap the tanker being held by British authorities in Gibraltar for the one held in Iran. Although this might reduce tension in the area, the Minister said this was 'about international law and enforcing the rules of the international legal order.'
Picture: A Stena Bulk vessel (by BoH).