After much negotiations, Iran has released the crew of the seized South Korean ship last week and now South Korea is working on a feasible plan to bring home the stranded sailors.
As the ship won’t be released soon and the present covid restrictions are making it hard to find a viable crew change opportunity, South Korea plans to do this as soon as possible.
According to diplomatic sources, the country is working to bring home the sailors as early as possible, preferably this week.
Iran freed the crew of MT Hankuk Chemi which they had seized due to allegations of environmental violations. The military still has the vessel and it’s captain in their command, only the crew was released last week.
The South Korean Embassy is finalizing the list of seafarers names who are heading home after holding meetings with the crew and assessing their health conditions. They also heard their version of the story and what they have to say regarding leaving the ship.
“We are working to finalize the list of members who are to return home. After swiftly checking their desires and other circumstances, we will provide them all necessary consular assistance,” a diplomatic source said.
The ship operator and the South Korean Foreign Ministry is working to return the crew hom before the Lunar New Year. If that happens, the crew will be home by Thursday this week.
The ship in question has 5 South Koreans, 11 Myanmarese, 2 Indonesians and 2 Vietnamese crew. Some of them have said that they will remain on the ship as the vessel needs to be managed while the investigation is still on.
Iran had released the seafarers after South Korea assured action against the frozen Iranian funds and started talking with the US regarding the matter. Although Iran denied any link between the US sanctions on Iran and seizure of the oil tanker.
Source: Maritime Shipping News