Manila says oil tanker seized by Iran: All Filipino sailors released

Manila says oil tanker seized by Iran: All Filipino sailors released

The Philippine government announced on Wednesday that the last crew members of the Philippine oil tanker seized by Iran in mid-January in the Gulf of Oman were released and were able to return to their country.

• Read also: Iran seizes an oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman in response to the United States

• Read also: Yemeni rebels reject UN call to free the ship

The ship “Saint Nicholas” was boarded on January 11, and its crew consisted of two Greeks and 18 Filipinos, as part of the conflict between the Islamic Republic and the United States.

Eduardo Vega, a Foreign Ministry official in Manila, said the Greek sailor was released a week later, while another Filipino was released last week after a new crew arrived, mainly from Russia.

He told AFP that the Filipino sailors “were not hostages, but they were not allowed to leave until they were replaced.”

Iran has boarded the St. Nicholas, a ship chartered by a Greek company and flying the Marshall Islands flag, carrying 145,000 tons of Iraqi crude oil.

Tehran explained that it seized the ship in response to the United States’ “theft of Iranian oil” in 2003 on the same tanker, which was then named Suez Rajan. The ship docks today in front of the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.

Manila is also still seeking the release of 17 sailors who were on board another ship kidnapped in the Red Sea by Houthi rebels in Yemen, with support from Iran.

In a separate attack, two Filipino sailors were killed and three others were injured in a Houthi missile attack on their ship on March 6 in the Gulf of Aden.

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About the Author: Hermínio Guimarães

"Introvertido premiado. Viciado em mídia social sutilmente charmoso. Praticante de zumbis. Aficionado por música irritantemente humilde."

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