Iran says it will allow crew of detained South Korean vessel to leave
Claiming it a humanitarian move Iran lets crew of seized vessel go
Iran has agreed to allow the crew members of a South Korean vessel it seized for alleged environmental pollution to leave the country, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told state media on Tuesday.
He said the 20-member crew would be released following a request from the South Korean government "in a humanitarian move by Iran."
The MT Hankuk Chemi was seized by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on January 4, and its crew - from South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar - taken into custody in Bandar Abbas, near the Strait of Hormuz.
The ship's operator, DM shipping, denied polluting the Gulf with chemicals.
South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister and his delegation visited Tehran last month to discuss the release of the ship and crew and some $7 billion in assets of Iran tied up in the country’s banks due to American sanctions.
Iran’s foreign minister had told the visiting South Korean delegation that the release of its vessel and crew was a matter for the courts and out of the government’s hands.
Updated: February 2, 2021 05:39 PM