Remaining Filipino Tanker Crew Released by Iran

AI generated image of a tanker in the Gulf of Oman
Updated Published

Iran has decided to release the remaining crew of the Greek-owned tanker St Nikolas, detained by its military forces in the Gulf of Oman since January. This decision comes as part of an arrangement that includes sending a new crew to oversee the tanker, which is managed by Empire Navigation.

This development followed negotiations between the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs and Iran, leading to an agreement for the crew's liberation. However, the agreement stipulates that the Philippines will provide a replacement crew.

Eduardo Jose de Vega, a high-ranking official with the Philippine foreign affairs department, mentioned that the new crew would consist of non-Filipinos and indicated that the tanker might stay under Iranian control pending a judicial decision.

Empire Navigation had previously confessed to breaching U.S. sanctions by transporting Iranian crude oil on the same vessel last September. The U.S. authorities intercepted the tanker in April the same year for transferring oil near Singapore. Subsequently, Empire Navigation agreed to a deal with the U.S., agreeing to ship about 800,000 barrels of unauthorized Iranian crude to the U.S. for confiscation. In retaliation to the seizure, Iran captured two tankers in the Strait of Hormuz within a week.