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British-Flagged Tanker Reaches Dubai Port After Departing Iran

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The British-flagged tanker Stena Impero pictured in the port of Bandar Abbas on July 21.

The British-flagged oil tanker that was seized by Iran in July has docked in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, according to ship-tracking websites and pool reporters.

The Stena Impero, which had been held off Bandar Abbas for more than two months, started moving out of the Iranian port on September 27 and reached the coast off Dubai in the early morning hours of September 28.

The arrival was reported on several ship-tracking websites.

Erik Hanell, CEO of the company that owns the vessel, Stena Bulk, told the media earlier that the tanker's crew are "safe and in high spirits" following their release from Iran.

He added that arrangements have been made for them to return to their families.

"The crew will have a period of time to be with their families following 10 weeks of detainment on the vessel. Full support will be offered to the crew and families in the coming weeks to assist with their recovery," he said.

The company did not release the names of the crew.

Following the release of the vessel, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said his country would cooperate with its overseas partners to protect shipping and uphold international laws.

"The Stena Impero was unlawfully seized by Iran. It is part of a pattern of attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation. We are working with our international partners to protect shipping and uphold the international rule of law," Raab said.

Iranian authorities accused the Stena Impero and its crew of failing to observe international maritime law at the time of its seizure on July 19, two weeks after British forces near Gibraltar captured an Iranian oil tanker that has since been released and renamed the Adrian Darya 1.

The operator and owner of the 183-meter-long, 50,000-deadweight-ton Stena Impero vehemently denied Tehran’s accusations.

An Iranian government spokesman said on September 23 that, while the vessel was then free to go, he did not know the exact timing of when it would set sail.

There were 23 crew members of Indian, Russian, Latvian, and Filipino nationalities aboard the Stena Impero when it was seized in the Strait of Hormuz on July 19.

Seven of them were released in early September, while the others reportedly remained aboard the ship off Bandar Abbas.

The Gibraltar and Hormuz seizures came with tensions already ratcheted up by confrontations between Western and Iranian naval and commercial ships in the strategic Gulf region that is a conduit for around one-fifth of the world's oil supplies.

U.S. President Donald Trump has launched a naval escort campaign to defend commercial shipping interests in the Gulf against harassment and illegal interference, with support from Australia, Britain, and other Western and Gulf states.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP
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