Iran To Release Seven Crew Members Of British-Flagged Stena Oil Tanker, Owner Says

It comes shortly after Iran's foreign ministry said they would be released.

Oil tanker Stena Impero (Picture: Stena Bulk).

Seven of the 23 crew members of the oil tanker held in the Persian Gulf by Iran are to be released, according to its owner.

The British-flagged Stena Impero was seized in the Strait of Hormuz on 19 July.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps announced it had detained the ship "for failing to respect international maritime rules".

The country's Guardian Council then said it was in response to Britain's role in seizing an Iranian tanker at the beginning of July.

Erik Hanell, chief executive of the Swedish shipping group Stena Bulk that owns the vessel, said it was not immediately clear when the crew would be freed.

His confirmation came shortly after Iran's foreign ministry said on Wednesday that seven people would be released.

Mr Hanell said:

"Their ordeal may soon be over, and they may return to their families, however, we cautiously await official confirmation of their release date."

He said in a statement it was "a positive step on the way to the release of all the remaining crew, which has always been our primary concern and focus".

The remaining 16 crew members are to stay on board the vessel.