British oil tanker Stena Impero enters international waters as it is freed by Iran two months after being seized
- Stena Impero seized by Iran in July after Tehran’s vessel was stopped in Gibraltar
- It has been held in the port of Bandar Abbas, in the Strait of Hormuz, ever since
- But on Friday the tanker returned to international waters after being released
- Video footage showed the British-flagged, Swedish-owned vessel setting sail
British oil tanker Stena Impero has reentered international waters after being released by Iran.
The vessel, which sails under the British flag and is owned by Sweden, was detained by Iran in July but left the country’s waters at 9.49am UK time on Friday.
Video released by Iran showed the Impero setting sail from Bandar Abbas, in the Strait of Hormuz, where it has spent the last two months under armed guard.
British oil tanker Stena Impero entered international waters at 9.49am UK time Friday, ship tracking data showed, after being freed by Iran
The Impero was shown sailing away from the port of Bandar Abbas on Friday morning, where it has spent the last two months under guard by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
According to tracking data, the Stena has set a new destination for Port Rashid in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, about 250 km (155 miles) away.
At normal tanker speed, it would reach that destination within half a day.
Iran seized the tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which some 20 per cent of the world’s oil passes each day.
The seizure came after authorities in Gibraltar seized an Iranian tanker carrying 130 million dollars (£104 million) in crude oil on suspicion of it breaking European Union sanctions on Syria.
Gibraltar later released the tanker, then called the Grace 1, after it said Iran had promised the ship would not go to Syria.
The ship seizures came amid months of heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf, sparked by US president Donald Trump’s decision over a year ago to withdraw from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers and impose crippling sanctions on its vital oil trade.
Iran since has begun breaking terms of the deal.
The Impero, which sails under a British flag but is Swedish-owned, was seized by Iran on July 19 (pictured, the Impero under guard in the port of Bandar Abbas)
Iran’s capture of the Stena was widely seen as retaliation for Britain’s seizure of the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 (pictured), now renamed the Adrian Darya 1