Stena Bulk raises concern for tanker crew as BP avoids Strait of Hormuz

Stena Bulk has raised concerns about the health of the seafarers on board a tanker captured by Iran at a time when oil major BP has confirmed it is avoiding the Strait of Hormuz trouble-spot.

Iranian forces abseiled from a helicopter onto the 50,00-dwt Stena Impero (built 2018) and took control of the ship 11 days ago and have been holding it at Bandar Abbas.

There are 23 crew on board from India, Russia and Philippines, with Embassy officials from each country boarding the vessel this weekend.

However, the shipowner has stressed the importance of its own access to the tanker given Iranian claims of a collision with a fishing vessel and the welfare of those on board.

“We are concerned about the potential impact a prolonged period of uncertainty will have on the welfare of both crew and their families,” Stena Bulk said in its latest update on the situation.

“Our colleagues on the Stena Impero were carrying out their profession as merchant seafarers and do not deserve to be in this position.”

“As previously stated, from the information we have, there is no current evidence the ship has breached any maritime rules or regulations, and we stand behind the professionalism and conduct of the crew of the Stena Impero.”

BP Shipping had its own close call with Iranian forces earlier this month.

Three Iranian Revolutionary Guards boats approached the 158,000-dwt British Heritage (built 2017) in the Middle East Gulf.

While a British warship fended off the hostilities, BP has since kept its own ships out of the area, according to chief financial officer Brian Gilvary.

“We will continue to make shipments through there but you won’t see any BP-flagged tankers going through in the short term,” he said, according to Reuters.

BP is not the only shipping company which is reluctant to operate in the troubled area.

Peter Livanos company GasLog said last week its ships were avoiding the Strait of Hormuz.

Source: TradeWinds