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Stena Bulk await confirmation Iran will release 7 crew from the Stena Impero

Stena Bulk is awaiting confirmation of release date from the Iranian authorities for seven non-essential crew on board the Stena Impero.

The Stena Impero was seized by the Iranian authorities on 19 July and the vessel and its crew have been held of Iran since. Stena Bulk said on Wednesday that it understood its longstanding request to remove seven non-essential crew was now being acting on by Iran although a release date was yet to be confirmed.

Erik Hanell, president and ceo, Stena Bulk said:  "We are very pleased that for seven crew members their ordeal may soon be over, and they may return to their families, however we cautiously await official confirmation of their release date.

“We view this communication as a positive step on the way to the release of all the remaining crew, which has always been our primary concern and focus.”

The 16 crew members onboard satisfy the minimum safe manning requirements from the flag-state, which in the UK in the case of the Stena Impero.

Read all the Seatrade Maritime News coverage of the seizure of the Stena Impero

The Iranian authorities said that the tanker had collided with a small fishing vessel but owners have said their is no evidence that it broke international regulations.

It has widely been seen as a tit-for-tat action by the Iranians following the seizure of the Iranian tanker Grace 1 two weeks earlier off Gibraltar by the British Navy for alleged sanction busting with Syria, which Iran characterised as an act of “piracy”. The Grace 1 has since been released.