South Korea has sent forces in waters near the Strait of Hormuz and deployed a delegation to Tehran as tensions rise with Iran after it seized a South Korean tanker last Monday.
South Korea has sent forces in waters near the Strait of Hormuz and deployed a delegation to Tehran as tensions rise with Iran after it seized Hankuk Chemi, a South Korean tanker last Monday.
The Choi Young destroyer with members of the Cheonghae anti-piracy unit on board arrived in the waters in preparation for diplomatic talks with Iran.
“[The destroyer] is carrying out missions to ensure the safety of our nationals,” explained foreign ministry spokesperson Boo Seung-chan.
According to Iran, the Hankuk Chemi was allegedly “polluting the Persian Gulf with chemicals” and is currently being held at Iran’s Bandar Abbas port city along with its crew.
Hankuk Chemi’s South Korean-based operator, DM Shipping, defended that the ship did not violate any environmental protocols.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said that it had seized the ship after receiving a request from the country’s Ports and Maritime Organization, which was acting on a warrant issued by the coastal Hormozgan province’s prosecutor’s office.
“We have been trying to figure out what happened through the Iranian embassy in South Korea and the South Korean embassy in Iran and are continuing to make efforts to address the situation,” said South Korean foreign minister, Kang Kyung-wha.
South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Choi Young-sam added that a working-level delegation led by the regional director will be dispatched to Iran to try to resolve the issue on the ground through bilateral negotiations.