Swedish shipowner Stena Bulk has rejected claims of a collision involving Stena Impero, the UK-flagged tanker seized by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz on July 19.
“We can confirm that we are not aware of, and nor is there any evidence of a collision involving the Stena Impero,” the company said in a statement dated July 23.
The 46,575 cbm Stena Impero “failed to respond” to a distress call sent by an Iranian fishing boat after the collision, Iranian media cited earlier the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as saying. The ship allegedly turned off its tracker, ignoring warnings by the IRGC.
The IRGC then boarded and seized the tanker as it “violated international law”, forcing it to sail to the Port of Bandar Abbas where the ship is still being held.
Stena Bulk submitted a formal request for permission to the Iranian authorities to visit the 23 crew members of Stena Impero on July 21.
The company said it still “awaits a decision to the formal request to the Iranian authorities for permission to visit the Stena Impero and verify the safety and well-being of … crew members held since July 19.”
“We continue to focus our efforts on supporting the families of those affected in India, Russia, Latvia and the Philippines and will continue to offer full support until all 23 crew members are released and safely back with their families,” Stena Bulk added.
The Swedish company and the vessel manager, the UK-based Northern Marine Management, also confirmed that all necessary notifications to relevant authorities and organizations were made for the Stena Impero’s transit of the Strait of Hormuz. The companies claim that the passage was carried out “in full compliance with all international maritime regulations.”
“At the time of the seizure, the vessel was within the inbound traffic separation scheme and out-with Iranian territorial waters with all required navigational equipment, including transponders, fully functioning, in compliance with maritime regulations,” Stena Bulk explained.
Following the tanker seizure, the UK has urged British-flagged ships to avoid the Strait of Hormuz. The country is also participating in the establishing of a European-led maritime protection mission in the region, aimed at supporting safe passage of both crew and cargo.