Iran to release crew of two seized Greek tankers - Greek seafarers union

The case has strained relations between Athens and Tehran as tensions grow between Iran and the United States.

 The Liberian-flagged oil tanker Ice Energy transfers crude oil from the Iranian-flagged oil tanker Lana (former Pegas), off the shore of Karystos, on the Island of Evia, Greece, May 26, 2022.  (photo credit: REUTERS/COSTAS BALTAS)
The Liberian-flagged oil tanker Ice Energy transfers crude oil from the Iranian-flagged oil tanker Lana (former Pegas), off the shore of Karystos, on the Island of Evia, Greece, May 26, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/COSTAS BALTAS)

Iran has agreed to release the crews of two Greek tankers it seized in May in the Gulf in response to the confiscation of oil by the United States from an Iranian-flagged tanker in Greece, the Greek union of commercial ships' seafarers said.

The case has strained relations between Athens and Tehran as tensions grow between Iran and the United States.

The Iranian-flagged tanker Lana, formerly Pegas, was seized by Greece in April and had remained under arrest for months. The United States had confiscated part of its oil cargo due to sanctions. 

Iran's foreign ministry could not confirm the information.

"We have no confirmation at this moment about a release," Iran's foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser KanaanI said, adding that he hoped "there would be positive developments in the future."

 The Liberian-flagged oil tanker Ice Energy transfers crude oil from the Iranian-flagged oil tanker Lana (former Pegas), off the shore of Karystos, on the Island of Evia, Greece, May 26, 2022.  (credit: REUTERS/COSTAS BALTAS) The Liberian-flagged oil tanker Ice Energy transfers crude oil from the Iranian-flagged oil tanker Lana (former Pegas), off the shore of Karystos, on the Island of Evia, Greece, May 26, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/COSTAS BALTAS)

Α Greek official said that the effort to free the crews was still underway and progressing.

"We believe that in the next hours or in a couple of days there will be a positive outcome," said a Greek official with knowledge of the situation.

Lana's complicated past

Lana, which had engine problems, was officially released in July. Anchored off Piraeus since then, it has retrieved the oil cargo that the United States had confiscated and is expected to sail back to Iran

Iran has agreed that the tankers' crew will be replaced, allowing their return to their countries of origin soon, the union said in a statement on its website on Sunday.

It was not clear when the two Greek tankers, still in the Middle East Gulf, will be released, the union said.