The United States is calling on Iran to release the detained South Korean tanker immediately, a State Department official told.
“The US is monitoring reports that the Iranian regime has detained a tanker under the flag of the Republic of Korea. The regime continues to threaten the rights and freedoms of navigation in the Persian Gulf as part of its apparent attempts to blackmail the international community into reducing the pressure of sanctions. We join South Korea’s call for Iran to release the tanker immediately,” the State Department official said.
Earlier, the British Organization for the Coordination of Maritime Trade (UKMTO) said that the Iranian authorities intercepted a foreign merchant ship; the Associated Press agency clarified that it was a South Korean tanker Hankuk Chemi, which was in route to the UAE. Commander Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the US Fifth Fleet, said the US military monitored the situation. Iran has confirmed the detention of a South Korean ship due to oil pollution in the water.
According to the South Korean Foreign Ministry, in the afternoon on Monday, a South Korean ship carrying chemicals, which sailed in the waters of the Strait of Hormuz near Oman,”at the request of the Iranian services for investigation” began to move towards the territorial waters of Iran.