Foreign Ministry News

20 Nov 2019

Houthis Release South Korean, Saudi vessels

Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi movement released three vessels and 16 people it had seized, South Korea's Foreign Ministry and a Houthi military source in Yemen said on Wednesday.The seizure on Sunday was the latest incident at sea around Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is leading a Western-backed coalition of Arab states against the Houthis, who control the capital and most population centres and have been accused of attacking shipping.Of the vessels freed on Tuesday, two were South Korean and one was Saudi Arabia-flagged, the South Korean ministry said in a statement, adding that the families of two South Koreans among the crew had been notified."The three ships were released after the necessary legal measures…

24 Oct 2019

Chinese Ship Exits Vietnam's Waters After Disputed Surveys

Haiyang Dizhi 8 (© smp / MarineTraffic.com)

A Chinese oil survey vessel that has been embroiled in a tense standoff with Vietnamese vessels in the South China Sea left Vietnamese-controlled waters on Thursday after more than three months, marine data showed.The Chinese vessel, the Haiyang Dizhi 8, was speeding away from Vietnam's exclusive economic zone towards China on Thursday under the escort of at least two Chinese ships, according to data from Marine Traffic, a website that tracks vessels.China claims almost all the energy-rich waters of the South China Sea but neighbors Brunei…

26 Sep 2019

Rouhani Expects UK Tanker Held in Iran to be Released

© Hannes van Rijn / MarineTraffic.com

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday he expected the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero, seized by Iran in July, to be released after the completion of legal procedures in his country."The tanker is going through the final court proceedings. I predict that it will be released," Rouhani said at a news conference in New York during the United Nations' annual gathering of world leaders.The ship's owner, Stena Bulk of Sweden, said on Wednesday the vessel was still…

23 Sep 2019

Iranian Held by Somali Pirates Since 2015 Ffreed

M Shariff from Iran was released after being held by Somali pirates (Photo: Hostage Support Partnership)

An Iranian sailor held hostage by Somali pirates for more than four years has been released with the help of the United Nations and a humanitarian group, Iran's Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi thanked the Hostage Support Partnership group, U.N. officials in Somalia, and authorities in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland and in Ethiopia for their help in winning the release of Mohammad Sharif Panahandeh, the state news agency IRNA said.Three Iranians sailors are still being held…

04 Sep 2019

Iran to Release Seven from Seized British Tanker

file image of seized UK tanker STENA IMPERO (CREDIT: MarineTraffic.com / © Irwin Willemse

Iran will free seven crew members of the detained British-flagged tanker Stena Impero, Iranian state television reported on Wednesday, although the vessel's owner said it had yet to receive any official confirmation of the release date.The Swedish-owned Stena Impero was detained by Iran's Revolutionary Guards on July 19 in the Strait of Hormuz waterway for alleged marine violations, two weeks after Britain detained an Iranian tanker off the territory of Gibraltar. That vessel was released in August.Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told the TV that the seven…

29 Aug 2019

India's Ports on Alert for 'Underwater' Attacks

Visakhapatnam port is a second largest port by cargo handled in India. (Image Credit: AdobeStock / © SNEHIT)

India's two main ports said on Thursday they had been warned by the coastguard and intelligence officials that Pakistan-trained commandos have entered Indian waters to carry out underwater attacks on port facilities.The Mundra Port, run by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd, and the state-owned Kandla Port had asked their employees and ship operators to be vigilant, port officials and the ports said in advisories seen by Reuters.Tensions between India and Pakistan have escalated since India revoked the special status of its portion of the Himalayan region of Kashmir on Aug.

25 Aug 2019

Chinese Survey Ship Nears Vietnam Coast

A Chinese survey vessel on Saturday extended its activities to an area closer to Vietnam's coastline, ship tracking data showed, after the United States and Australia expressed concern about China's actions in the disputed waterways.The Haiyang Dizhi 8 vessel first entered Vietnam's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) early last month where it began a weeks-long seismic survey, triggering a tense standoff between military and coastguard vessels from Vietnam and China.The Chinese vessel…

22 Aug 2019

Seized Stena Bulk Tanker Could be Released Soon

File Image: MarineTraffic.com

Sweden has received "very strong indications" that a British oil tanker seized last month by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz is to be released soon, Swedish public service broadcaster SVT reported on Thursday, citing sources within Sweden's foreign ministry.The Stena Impero, British-owned but operated by Swedish company Stena Bulk, was captured by Iran's Revolutionary Guards on July 19 after passing through the strait at the mouth of the Gulf.Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, visited Sweden earlier this week for talks with Sweden's foreign minister Margot Wallstrom.

19 Aug 2019

Iran Tanker Released, Sets Sail for Greece

The newly renamed Adrian Darya 1, in a file image under its previous name of Grace 1. CREDIT: MarineTraffic.com

An Iranian tanker sailed through the Mediterranean towards Greece on Monday after it was released from detention off Gibraltar, and Tehran said that any at U.S. move to seize the vessel again would have "heavy consequences".The Grace 1, renamed the Adrian Darya 1, left anchorage off Gibraltar about 11 p.m. (2100 GMT) on Sunday. Refinitiv ship tracking data showed on Monday that the vessel was heading to Kalamata in Greece and was scheduled to arrive next Sunday at 0000 GMT.The…

13 Aug 2019

Chinese Ship Returns to Vietnam's EEZ

A Chinese survey ship returned to Vietnam's exclusive economic zone off its coast on Tuesday, ship tracking data showed, less than a week after it left the area where vessels from the two countries were locked in a month-long standoff.The Haiyang Dizhi 8 first entered the zone under Chinese coast guard escort in July and appeared to conduct a seismic survey of waters that are a potential global flashpoint as the United States challenges China's maritime claims.The survey ship, which according to Vietnam left the area on Aug. 7, was now headed back to the zone under escort from at least two Chinese Coast Guard vessels, according to data from Marine Traffic…

06 Aug 2019

Iran Threatens Hormuz Shipping Again

Stena Impero, seized by Iran in July, remains in their custody. Image Credit: MarineTraffic.com / © Irwin Willemse

War with Iran is the mother of all wars, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday in a speech broadcast live on state TV, warning once again that shipping might not be safe in the Strait of Hormuz oil waterway.Tensions have risen between Iran and the West since last year when the United States pulled out of an international agreement which curbed the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program in return for an easing of economic sanctions on Iran."Peace with Iran is the mother of all peace…

30 Jul 2019

Vietnamese Fishermen Want Action Against China

A Vietnamese fishermen's group has called on the government to take stronger measures for the removal of a Chinese oil survey vessel that Vietnam accuses of violating its sovereignty in the South China Sea.Vietnamese and Chinese ships have been in a weeks-old standoff near an offshore oil block, the latest confrontation in waters that are a potential global flashpoint as the United States challenges China's sweeping maritime claims.The busy waterway will be high on the agenda this week as countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meet in Bangkok with foreign ministers from China, the United States and other powers.Vietnam…

24 Jul 2019

Stena Bulk: Seized Tanker's Crew Safe

File Image / © MarineTraffic.com

All 23 crew on a British oil tanker seized last week by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz are safe and well, the vessel's Swedish operator Stena Bulk said on Wednesday after speaking to them.The Stena Impero had been heading to a port in Saudi Arabia when it suddenly changed course after passing through the strait at the mouth of the Gulf and headed towards Iran, captured by Iran's Revolutionary Guards.Iran said on Saturday it had seized the Stena Impero because it had collided with a fishing boat.

24 Jul 2019

Sweden in Talks with Iran, UK, Others Over Seized Tanker

Sweden said on Wednesday it was holding talks with Iran, Britain and others over a Swedish-owned, British-flagged tanker seized last week by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz."Sweden is concerned by developments in the Strait of Hormuz. For Sweden and the EU it is vital that freedom of navigation is protected. Given the very serious situation in the region, it is also important that the measures taken help to ease tensions," the foreign ministry said in a statement."Sweden is conducting a dialogue at various levels with the UK, Iran and other relevant stakeholders... and we hope to find a resolution to the issues and de-escalate the tense situation." (Reuters, Reporting by Esha Vaish in Stockholm Editing by Gareth Jones)

19 Jul 2019

Vietnam: Chinese Vessel Violated its Sovereignty

Vietnam on Friday accused a Chinese oil survey vessel and its escorts of violating its sovereignty and demanded that China remove the ships from Vietnamese waters.Vietnam and China have for years long been embroiled in a dispute over the potentially energy-rich stretch of waters in the South China Sea.On Wednesday, two U.S.-based think tanks reported that Chinese and Vietnamese vessels had engaged in a standoff lasting several weeks near an oil block in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone.

18 Jul 2019

Revolutionary Guards Seize Oil Tanker in Gulf

Iran has seized a foreign tanker smuggling fuel in the Gulf, state television quoted Iran's Revolutionary Guards as saying on Thursday."A foreign vessel smuggling one million litres of fuel in the Larak Island of the Persian Gulf has been seized," the station said, adding that the ship was seized on Sunday.The Revolutionary Guards said the impounded vessel - which Iranian authorities have not yet named - was the same one it towed after it sent a distress call."The vessel that Iran towed to its waters after receiving a distress call, was later seized with the order from the court as we found out that it was smuggling fuel," the Guards said in a statement quoted by state television.The Guards said they had seized no other ship in the Gulf.Iranian navy vessels came to the assistance of a disa

17 Jul 2019

Vietnam, China in South China Sea Standoff

© lotusjeremy / Adobe Stock

Vietnamese and Chinese ships have been embroiled in a weeks-long standoff near an offshore oil block in disputed waters of the South China Sea, which fall within Vietnam's exclusive economic zone, two Washington-based think-tanks said on Wednesday.China's U-shaped "nine-dash line" marks a vast expanse of the South China Sea that it claims, including large swathes of Vietnam's continental shelf where it has awarded oil concessions.The Haiyang Dizhi 8, a ship operated by the China Geological Survey…

16 Jul 2019

Ten Turkish Sailors Seized by Pirates off Nigeria

© pavalena / Adobe Stock

Ten Turkish sailors were taken hostage by armed pirates who attacked a Turkish-flagged cargo ship off the coast of Nigeria, the vessel's owner said on Tuesday, adding that another eight sailors were left safely aboard.Turkey's foreign ministry said the sailors were seized on Saturday evening. After the pirates left the ship it was taken to Ghana's Tema port, and Ghanaian and Nigerian authorities are working on returning the captured sailors, the ministry said.Shipping company Kadioglu Denizcilik said its ship…

12 Jul 2019

Iran Calls For UK to Release Seized VLCC

The 'Grace 1' - the seived VLCC in a file image. CREDIT: MarineTraffic.com

Iran called on Britain to immediately release its oil tanker which British Royal Marines seized last week on suspicion that it was breaking European sanctions by taking oil to Syria, Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told state news agency IRNA."This is a dangerous game and has consequences ... the legal pretexts for the capture are not valid ... the release of the tanker is in all countries' interest ...

05 Jul 2019

Iran threatens UK in Retaliation for Tanker Seizure

An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander threatened on Friday to seize a British ship in retaliation for the capture of an Iranian supertanker in Gibraltar by Royal Marines."If Britain does not release the Iranian oil tanker, it is the authorities duty to seize a British oil tanker," Mohsen Rezai said on Twitter.The Gibraltar government said the crew on board the supertanker Grace 1 were being interviewed as witnesses, not criminal suspects, in an effort to establish the nature of the cargo and its ultimate destination.British Royal Marines abseiled onto the ship off the coast of the British territory on Thursday and seized it. They…

03 Jul 2019

U.N. Approves Release of Impounded Vessels

The United Nations has approved the release of two ships impounded by South Korea on suspicion of transferring oil to North Korea as there was no deliberate breach of sanctions, Seoul's foreign ministry said on Tuesday.South Korea seized four vessels to check whether they violated U.N. sanctions by making illegal ship-to-ship transfers of oil or coal products to North Korean ships.A U.N. panel monitoring the enforcement of sanctions approved the release of the Hong Kong-flagged Lighthouse Winmore and the South Korean P-Pioneer based on the result of a South Korean investigation that found they had not intended to breach sanctions, South Korean officials said."There was evidence of ship-to-ship transfers but we concluded that it was not deliberate…

02 Jul 2019

South Korea Releases Ships in UN 'sanctions' Case

South Korea has released two ships it had seized on suspicion of transferring oil to North Korea as there was no deliberate breach of U.N. sanctions, Seoul's foreign ministry said on Tuesday.South Korea seized four vessels to check whether they violated U.N. sanctions by making illegal ship-to-ship transfers of oil or coal products to North Korean ships.A U.N. panel approved the release of the Hong Kong-flagged Lighthouse Winmore and the South Korean P-Pioneer based on South Korean probe results that they had not intended to breach sanctions, Seoul officials said."There was evidence of ship-to-ship transfers but we concluded that it was not deliberate…

14 Jun 2019

Latest on Tanker Attacks South of the Strait of Hormuz

© SOMATUSCANI/ Adobe Stock

U.S. President Donald Trump blamed Iran on Friday for attacks on two oil tankers at the entrance to the Gulf despite Tehran's denials, stoking fears of a confrontation in the vital oil shipping route.Here are the latest developments:* U.S. President Donald Trump blames Iran for Thursday's attacks and says any bid to close the Strait of Hormuz would not last long* The U.S. military releases a video saying it shows Iran's Revolutionary Guard drawing up to side of the Japanese-owned…

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