An Iranian tanker held in Saudi Arabia since being forced to seek repairs at Jeddah port has been released and is returning to the Islamic Republic, a minister said Sunday.
The Happiness 1 tanker “has been released following negotiations and is now moving toward Persian Gulf waters,” said transport minister Mohammad Eslami, quoted by state news agency IRNA.
The ship had been forced to seek repairs in Saudi Arabia in early May after suffering “engine failure and loss of control”, the Iranian oil ministry’s SHANA news agency said at the time.
“Yesterday, with follow-ups from the ports and maritime authority the issue was resolved,” Eslami said.
“The tanker is moving towards the Persian Gulf with the permission of the Jeddah port, towed by two Iranian tug boats.”
Iran’s national tanker company said in a statement that on top of “political and diplomatic negotiations” the tanker’s release required “the payment of related costs” demanded by Saudi Arabia.