‘Non-essential’ Stena Impero crew freed

Iranian Revolutionary Guards patrolling around Stena Impero. Credit: Hasan Shirvani/AFP/Getty Images

Iran has declared that it will release 7 of the 23 crew members of Stena Impero, the British-flagged tanker seized in the Strait of Hormuz in July.

The personnel are regarded as “non-essential” to the operation of the vessel, said a clarification from the Swedish shipowner. “We understand that our long-standing request to remove non-essential personnel from Stena Impero is now being acted upon by the Iranian Government.”

Stena Impero was detained in what was then understood to be a retaliation move in exchange for very large crude carrier (VLCC) Grace 1, subsequently renamed to Adrian Darya 1, and freed from its detention in Gibraltar.

Discussing the status of the seven crew members with Iranian state television, Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi said, “They’ve left the vessel, and the final procedures are under way to send them back to their countries.”