TEHRAN (Iran News) – Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Tuesday that the decision to release the members of the crew aboard the South Korean ship was taken “on humanitarian grounds” and the released crew are now allowed to leave the country.
“Following the request of the South Korean government and the assistance of the [Iranian] Judiciary within the framework of judicial regulations, the crew of the South Korean ship, which was detained on charges of environmental pollution in the Persian Gulf, have received the permission of the Islamic Republic of Iran received to leave the country in a humanitarian move.”
Khatibzadeh added, the judicial probe into the violation of the rules by the ship and the captain continues within the framework of the law.
On January 4, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)’s Navy impounded the South Korean-flagged MT Hankuk Chemi tanker upon a request by Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization and a verdict by the prosecutor office of Hormozgan province, for repeated violations of maritime environmental law.
Previously, Several Iranian media outlets, including state TV, said the Guards navy captured the vessel for polluting the Gulf with chemicals.
“According to initial reports by local officials, it is purely a technical matter and the ship was taken to shore for polluting the sea,” state television quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh as saying. It said the vessel’s detained crew members included nationals of South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Myanmar. Iran’s state TV said the tanker was being held at Iran’s Bandar Abbas port city. The ship had 20 crew members, according to South Korea’s foreign ministry.
- source : Mehr