Iran’s Foreign Ministry elaborates on seizing South Korean oil tanker
Like any other country, Iran is serious about violating environmental protocols, particularly polluting the environment, and acts based on the law against similar violations, Khatibzadeh stressed in statement according to IRNA.
Earlier in the day, naval forces of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced in a statement, the South Korean-flagged tanker has been seized for violation of environmental laws.
The statement added that the ship, which carried 7,200 tons of ethanol, is now being held at Iran’s southern Bandar Abbas port city.
It added the South Korean tanker was seized because of polluting the Persian Gulf with chemicals, according to Tasnim News Agency.
Khatibzadeh stressed that seizure of the South Korea’s Hankuk Chemi vessel “is not an exceptional but a normal incident.” He added that similar cases had also occurred in the Iranian and other countries’ territorial waters in the past.
The spokesman stressed further reports on the issue will be released later.
The vessel had left Saudi Arabia's al-Jubail Port before it was seized by the IRGC naval forces.
The South Korean tanker was carrying 7,200 tons of oil-based chemicals and had on board nationals from South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Myanmar.
The tanker has docked at Iran’s southern port of Bandar Abbas and its case will be handed over to the judicial authorities for further investigation, the statement said.
Iran's Foreign Ministry statement came in response to some reports suggesting that Iran had detained the South Korean ship in a bid to pressure Seoul to release billions of Iranian funds that have been blocked in two South Korean banks under American pressure, Press TV reported.
Iranian authorities have said on several occasions that they expect South Korea to do more on the funds, which amount to nearly $8.5 billion.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said on Monday that the county’s foreign ministry and its embassy in Tehran had been informed about the safety and well-being of 20 crewmembers of MT Hankuk Chemi. It said the crewmembers included 5 Koreans, 11 Myanmarese, two Indonesians and two Vietnamese.
Source: Iran Daily