JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Two Indonesian crew members of a South Korean-flagged oil tanker that was seized by Iran in the Persian Gulf’s Strait of Hormuz, are safe.
“The Foreign Affairs Ministry and the South Korean Embassy in Iran ensure all crew members are safe. They ask for an immediate release of the ship,” South Korea’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement on Monday, January 4 as quoted by Kontan.co.id via the Yonhap news agency.
In response to the seizure, South Korea has sent its warship carrying members of the Cheonghae anti-piracy unit stationed in the Strait of Hormuz.
The warship was deployed to waters near the Strait of Hormuz where the MT Hankuk Chemi oil tanker was seized.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry said it would handle the matter in collaboration with South Korea’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, Fisheries Ministry, and the foreign Navies operating in nearby waters.
According to South Korea’s Foreign Ministry, the MT Hankuk Chemi was sailing in Omani waters when the Iranian authorities requested the ship to move towards Iranian waters.
DM Shipping denied that the MT Hankuk Chemi oil tanker was seized because it polluted the Persian Gulf with chemicals.
A DM Shipping official in Busan, South Korea said that the Iranian authorities contacted the MT Hankuk Chemi crew, saying there was no contamination.
The incident occurred amid tensions between the US and Iran. The media reported that Iran has resumed enriching 20 percent uranium at its underground. The US and South Korea are allies, while Iran is South Korea’s trading partner in the Middle East.
(Writer: Rakhmat Nur Hakim | Editor: Rakhmat Nur Hakim)
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