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Red Sea Crisis

Crew of hijacked St Nikolas are safe say vessel owners

Photo: AdobeStock Front view of tanker at sea
File photo of tanker
Nineteen crew members taken hostage after the hijacking of their ship in the Strait of Hormuz on 11 January are all safe, report the vessel owners.

Empire Navigation owners of the 158,500dwt Suezmax tanker St Nikolas confirmed that the company’s P&I Club correspondents had contacted the Iranian authorities and can report that the 18 Filipino and one Greek crew member are safe.

“All the crew members on board the St. Nikolas (IMO No. 9524475, Flag: Marshall Islands) are safe and in good health,” said a company statement on 14 January.

The company added that it “Had not been in direct touch with their crew since the vessel’s seizure on 11 January and the satellite communications system remains disabled. The St. Nikolas remains anchored in the vicinity of the port of Bandar Abbas in Iran.”

St Nikolas was arrested by US authorities in 2022 who seized crude oil being sold by sanctioned Iranian authorities, fining Empire Navigation $2.4 mi for breaking the US imposed sanctions on Tehran.

Iranian news outlets have reported that the hijacking of the ship is in retaliation for the US seizure of the cargo of crude oil confiscated by the US at that time.