Iran’s ambassador in Seoul met with a South Korean foreign ministry official on Tuesday to address the seizure of an oil tanker in the Persian Gulf waters.
Koh Kyung-sok, director-general of the South Korean ministry’s African and Middle Eastern affairs, expressed regrets to Iranian Ambassador Saeed Badamchi Shabestari and called for the early release of the ship and its crew members, according to Yonhap news agency.
The Iranian ambassador said ahead of the meeting that the sailors remain safe and there is no need to worry while the legal procedures are implemented.
“All of them are safe. Nothing to worry about,” he said.
No further details of the meeting are revealed yet.
The naval force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) seized the South Korean-flagged tanker Hankuk Chemi in the Persian Gulf waters on Monday.
The IRGC Navy said in a statement that the ship had departed from the Petroleum Chemical Quay in Saudi Arabia’s Jubail port before being impounded for polluting the Persian Gulf waters with chemicals.
It added that the ship, which carried 7,200 tons of ethanol, is now being held at Iran’s southern Bandar Abbas port city.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry also issued a statement reiterating that a South Korean ship seized purely over technical and environmental issues.
“Based on reports received from local authorities, the issue is purely technical and the ship has been redirected to the coast based on a judicial order for examination of the violation that occurred,” the ministry said.