The Stena Impero was given permission to leave Monday but was kept in port until an Iranian probe into its conduct could be completed. File Photo courtesy of Stena Bulk
Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Iran released a British-flagged oil tanker on Friday, two months after it captured the vessel for allegedly entering its waters in violation of international law.
Iranian Ports and Maritime Administration confirmed that the vessel, Stena Impero, left Bandar Abbas port at 9 a.m., the state-run IRNA reported.
Erik Hanell, president and CEO of Stena Bulk, the operator of the ship, also confirmed the ship's release.
"Stena Bulk and Northern Marine Management confirm the Stena Impero and its crew have been released," he said via Twitter.
The ship was captured by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps on July 19 for having violated international maritime law when it allegedly veered into Iranian waters in the Strait of Hormuz.
The vessel's seizure, however, was widely seen as retaliatory for British forces capturing a tanker off Gibraltar on suspicion of transporting Persian oil to Syria in violation of international sanctions. The ship was released in mid-August despite the Trump administration making a last-ditch attempt to length its detention.
The Stena Impero was officially given permission to leave on Monday but was kept in port until a probe into the ship's conduct completed, the New York Times reported.
"The vessel has left the port of Bandar Abbas and is transiting to Dubai for the crew to disembark and receive medical checks and debriefing," Hanell said. "The families of crew members have been informed and the Company is currently making arrangements for the repatriation of its valued seafarers at the earliest possible opportunity."
The ship became victim to escalating tensions near the Persian Gulf where both the United States and Iran shot down the other's drone and at least two tankers were sabotaged by explosives, which the Trump administration has blamed Iran for.
The Trump administration most recently blamed Iran for drone attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities, which Tehran denies having any involvement with.