Iran has seized a South Korean-flagged tanker in the Persian Gulf.This incident has occured at a time of tension between Iran and South Korea after Iranian funds were frozen at South Korean banks due to U.S. sanctions.
The ship was travelling from Saudi Arabia to the port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.
The UK maritime Trade Operations website said the following in a statement:
“UKMTO are aware that an interaction occurred this morning between 0615 – 0733Z within the Straits of Hormuz between a Merchant Vessel and the Iranian Authorities. As a consequence of this interaction the Merchant Vessel made an alteration of course North and proceeded into Iranian Territorial Waters”
According to Reuters here, the semi-official Tasnim news agency published pictures showing what it identified as Guards speed boats escorting the tanker HANKUK CHEMI, which it said was carrying 7,200 tonnes of ethanol.
“It said the vessel’s crew members had been detained and included nationals of South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar, but did not say how many there were. It said the tanker was being held at Iran’s Bandar Abbas port city.”
Threats to shipping and international commerce continue.