S.Korean tanker held by Iran now on move
A South Korean oil tanker held for months by Iran amid a dispute over billions of dollars held in Seoul was freed and sailed away, just hours before further talks between Tehran and world powers over its tattered nuclear deal.
MarineTraffic.com data showed the MT Hankuk Chemi leaving Bandar Abbas early on Friday.
South Korea's foreign ministry says Iran released the tanker and its captain after seizing the vessel in January.
The Hankuk Chemi left an Iranian port after completing an administrative process, the ministry says.
Iran did not immediately acknowledge the ship had been freed.
The Hankuk Chemi had been travelling from a petrochemicals facility in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates when armed Revolutionary Guard troops stormed the vessel in January and forced the ship to change course and travel to Iran.
Iran had accused the MT Hankuk Chemi of polluting the waters in the crucial Strait of Hormuz. But the seizure was widely seen as an attempt to pressure Seoul to release billions of dollars in Iranian assets tied up in South Korean banks amid heavy American sanctions on Iran.
South Korea's foreign ministry did not elaborate on the terms of the ship's release. Iran in February released much of the ship's crew.
The development came as Iran and world powers were set to resume negotiations in Vienna on Friday to break the stand-off over US sanctions against Iran and Iranian breaches of the 2015 nuclear agreement.
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