DUBAI/LONDON (Reuters) -Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps seized a South Korean-flagged tanker in Gulf waters, Iranian media mentioned on Monday, at a time of rigidity between Tehran and Seoul over Iranian funds frozen at South Korean banks because of U.S. sanctions.
A number of Iranian media shops, together with Iranian state TV, mentioned the Guards navy captured the vessel for polluting the Gulf with chemical compounds. The semi-official Tasnim information company revealed footage exhibiting what it recognized as Guards velocity boats escorting the tanker HANKUK CHEMI, which it mentioned was carrying 7,200 tonnes of ethanol.
It mentioned the vessel’s crew members had been detained and included nationals of South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar, however didn’t say what number of there have been. It mentioned the tanker was being held at Iran’s Bandar Abbas port metropolis.
South Korea’s international ministry didn’t have an instantaneous remark. The U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet was conscious and monitoring the scenario, spokeswoman Rebecca Rebarich mentioned in response to a Reuters question.
Iranian authorities have but to touch upon the incident, which comes forward of an anticipated go to by South Korea’s deputy international minister to Tehran.
Iranian international ministry mentioned on Monday that the go to would occur in coming days and would focus on Iran’s demand that South Korea launch $7 billion in funds frozen in South Korean banks due to U.S. sanctions.
America re-imposed sanctions on Iran in 2018 after Washington withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear cope with six main powers. Tehran calls the U.S. sanctions financial warfare.
Two maritime safety corporations earlier mentioned the HANKUK CHEMI appeared to have been seized by Iranian authorities.
British agency Ambrey mentioned the South Korean-flagged vessel, owned by DM Delivery Co, had departed from the Petroleum Chemical Quay in Jubail, in Saudi Arabia, earlier than the incident and had since been tracked inside Iranian territorial waters headed in the direction of Bandar Abbas.
One other maritime safety agency, Dryad International, mentioned on its web site the chemical tanker had “probably been detained by Iranian forces” within the Strait of Hormuz whereas inbound to Fujairah within the United Arab Emirates.
In early 2019, Iran heightened tensions on this planet’s busiest oil waterway by seizing British-flagged tanker Stena Impero two weeks after a British warship had intercepted an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar.
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