April 19, 2021

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Iran frees South Korean ship it held amid dispute over funds

A South Korean oil tanker held for months by Iran amid a dispute over billions of dollars held in Seoul has been freed

MarineTraffic.com data showed the MT Hankuk Chemi leaving Bandar Abbas in the early morning hours.

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said Iran released the tanker and its captain after seizing the vessel in January. The ministry says the Hankuk Chemi left an Iranian port at around 6 a.m. local time after completing an administrative process.

Iran did not immediately acknowledge the ship had been freed. The ship’s owner, DM Shipping Co. Ltd. of Busan, South Korea, could not be immediately reached for comment.

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.

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Associated Press writer Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul contributed to this report.

Original News : https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/south-korean-tanker-held-iran-now-move-76964051

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