The seizure of a South Korea oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards has created a conflict situation between the two countries.
South Korea authorities demanded the immediate release of the oil tanker ship. A delegation of South Korean troops deployed in the Strait of Hormuz has traveled to Iran to discuss the issue, according to a statement issued by the country’s foreign ministry.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards say they seized the Hancock Chemi, a ship with 20 crew members, off the coast of Oman on Monday on charges of violating environmental laws. They say the ship’s “chemicals were polluting the waters of the Persian Gulf.”
However, South Korea has denied the allegations.
The ship is being held in the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas. The 20 crew members aboard the Hankuk Chemi ship are nationals of South Korea, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Vietnam.
Meanwhile, a destroyer warship named Chai Yong with members of South Korea’s anti-piracy unit has approached the Strait of Hormuz. This area of the Strait of Hormuz is a very significant area in terms of military strategy.
South Korea has said it does not want any military action. Foreign Ministry spokesman Choi Yang-sam told reporters that they were interested in resolving the issue diplomatically.
The shipwreck comes amid tensions in Iran over $7 billion in US bank sanctions over a US embargo on Iran.
Iran has denied allegations that it seized the ship in a bid to pressure South Korean authorities to release its seized assets. Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-Wha.
“We have to check all the information first and ensure the safety of the sailors on our ship,” he told reporters. “We have begun diplomatic efforts for the speedy release of the ship.”
South Korea’s defense ministry said on Tuesday that its destroyer ship, carrying members of its anti-piracy unit had reached the Strait of Hormuz with the aim of “ensuring the safety” of South Korean citizens.
The oil tanker was intercepted very close to the narrow sea lane where the destroyer was located. It is a very important shipping lane in the Gulf region.
The South Korean destroyer has been stationed off the coast of Somalia since last year to repel pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden and the Strait of Hormuz, according to the Yonhap news agency.