Iran Seizes South Korean-Flagged Oil Tanker Over Pollution
Iranian forces seized a South Korean-flagged tanker in the Gulf. The reason for the seizure on Monday is “technical,” according to the official state Islamic Republic News Agency
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that the tanker was violating environmental protocols, according to the report. He called the incident “ordinary.”
Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps naval force seized the vessel, the Hankuk Chemi, which was carrying 7,200 tons of oil-based chemicals and had on board crew members from South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Myanmar. It is being held in the Iranian port city of Bandar Abba.
Seoul has demanded the tanker’s immediate release. South Korea’s deputy foreign minister is scheduled to visit Iran in the coming days to discuss the release of $7 billion in Iranian funds frozen in South Korean banks in observance of US sanctions against Iran.
The U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet is monitoring the situation, Reuters reported.