dpa/GNA – South Korea summoned the Iranian ambassador to express its condemnation of the seizure of a South Korean-flagged tanker by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) because it was leaking oil.

During the meeting, South Korean official Koh Kyung Sok called on Iranian Ambassador Saeed Badamchi Shabestari for the speedy release of the tanker, which is currently in the port city of Bandar Abbas, as well as the release of its crew, the Yonhap news agency reported.

The Iranian diplomat told officials that the 20-strong crew – among them five Koreans, as well as nationals of Myanmar, Indonesia and Vietnam – was safe and healthy.

The IRGC said on Monday that the oil tanker was polluting the waters of the Gulf and was therefore seized and transported to Bandar Abbas, where an investigation had been launched.

The tanker had been en route from Saudi Arabia to the emirate of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.

The Gulf has been at the centre of a smoldering dispute between Iran and several Western states, especially the United States and Britain.

There have been several incidents, especially in the Strait of Hormuz, which lies between the Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. It is one of the most important shipping routes worldwide, with almost a third of global oil exports shipped through the strait.

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