Iran frees two Greek oil tankers seized in May

Tehran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard seized the ships Delta Poseidon and Prudent Warrior

The Greek-flagged oil tanker Prudent Warrior, in the background, sailing past Istanbul in April 2019.  AP
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Two Greek tankers held by Iran since May have been released.

Greece said the ships’ sailors have also been freed. Tehran's foreign ministry later confirmed the tankers have been released and have left Iranian waters.

Tracking data from MarineTraffic.com showed the tankers departing from the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas on Wednesday afternoon.

Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard seized the ships Delta Poseidon and Prudent Warrior back in May, just days after Athens said it would deliver seized Iranian oil to the US.

At the time Greece said one of the tankers was in international waters, while the second was close to the Iranian coast when it was boarded. Athens said Tehran's behaviour was “tantamount to acts of piracy” and told citizens not to travel to Iran.

Delta Tankers confirmed in a statement that its vessel was released on Wednesday and said the tanker was sailing to Fujairah for inspections before returning to Greece, its original destination.

“This is very good news and we are grateful to all those involved with securing this release. The crew are well and pleased to be on their way after many months,” the company said.

It comes the same day as Iran was accused of a drone attack on an Israeli-linked tanker in the Gulf of Oman.

Two Israeli officials told Reuters Tehran was behind the Wednesday attack on the Pacific Zircon, owned by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer. Iran pointed the blame back at Israel.

In May, the US condemned the seizure of the Greek tankers and said it was a “threat to maritime security.”

“Iran's continued harassment of vessels and interference with navigational rights and freedoms are a threat to maritime security and the global economy,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price.

— Agencies contributed to this report

Updated: November 16, 2022, 4:11 PM
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