South Korea dispatches a destroyer for Persian Gulf amid seizure of its tanker by Iran

Seoul: A reaction has emerged from South Korea after the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) seized its tanker in the Persian Gulf. The South Korean defence ministry announced sending an anti-piracy unit to the Persian Gulf. However, reports revealed that the unit included a South Korean destroyer and soldiers from the board’s special forces.   

iran-south-korea-persian-gulf-1On Monday, the IRGC patrol vessels seized Hankuk Chemi, a South Korean-flagged oil tanker that had left from the Al-Jubail port in Saudi Arabia. The tanker was sailing from Saudi Arabia to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and was carrying Ethanol. However, Iran took action against it, accusing the ship of causing environmental pollution. Since the last 24 hours, the tanker Hankuk Chemi has been held hostage at Iran’s Bandar Abbas port. Sailors from Myanmar and Vietnam are claimed of being on board the ship.   

iran-south-korea-persian-gulf-2 South Korea has not given a severe reaction to the incident. Nevertheless, the South Korean defence ministry announced that it would dispatch an anti-piracy unit to the Persian Gulf. South Korean diplomatic officials will also be visiting Iran. According to a US news channel, South Korea has sent destroyer Choi Young and troops from the special forces Cheonghae unit.   

The unit had killed 21 Somalian pirates during an operation in 2011. Therefore, the US news channel is claiming that the anti-piracy unit sent by South Korea to the Persian Gulf would pose a challenge to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Meanwhile, $7 billion of Iranian funds are lying frozen in the South Korean banks due to the US sanctions. Iran is facing a severe financial crisis and is believed to have hijacked the tanker to secure the release of its funds. On the other hand, there are also claims which state Iran has different motives behind this seizure.  

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