In response to the seizure of oil by the United States from an Iranian-flagged tanker in Greece, Iran has agreed to release the crew of two Greek tankers seized in May in the Gulf, according to the Greek Federation of Seafarers of Commercial Ships. he said.
The case has strained relations between Athens and Tehran as tensions between Iran and the United States escalate.
The crew of the tankers will be replaced, allowing them to return to their countries of origin soon, the union said in a statement on its website on Sunday.
It was not clear whether the two Greek tankers, MT Prudent Warrior and Delta Poseidon, would be released.
Iran’s foreign ministry could not confirm the information.
“At this time we have no confirmation about the release,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said, adding that he expected “positive developments in the future”.
A Greek shipping ministry source said on Monday that “a very serious effort is underway for the earliest return of the Greek crew,” without elaborating.
The Iranian-flagged tanker Lana, formerly Pegas, was seized by Greece in April and held for months. The United States had a portion of its oil cargo confiscated because of the sanctions.
Oil removal from Lanna prompted Iranian forces in May to seize two Greek tankers in the Middle East Gulf and send them back to Iran after Tehran warned of “punitive action” against Athens.
Lana, which had engine problems, was officially released in July. Anchored from Piraeus since then, it has retrieved oil cargo that was confiscated by the United States and is expected to return to Iran.
MT Prudent Warrior manager Polembros Shipping said in a statement on Monday that the crew communicates with their families on an almost daily basis and “they are in good health and are treated well”.
It added that the company is making every effort to secure his release.
“We have been innocent victims in the midst of a political confrontation,” the statement said. “We hope that recent developments lead to the release of our vessel and its crew.”