Iranian Media reported that Iran has seized the South Korea flagged Hankuk Chemi vessel due to environmental and chemical pollution in the Persian Gulf. Naval forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were responsible for seizing the vessel and bringing it to Bandar Abbas port in Iran. The Hankuk Chemi was sailing to the United Arab Emirates port of Fujairah after loading at Jubail, Saudi Arabia on January 2. It veered off course in the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow stretch of water between the tip of Oman and Iran and headed toward Bandar Abbas. The vessel was carrying 7,200 tonnes of ethanol and the arrested crew members were from Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar.
The seizure follows a series of shipping security incidents in the Persian Gulf. The region and the Red Sea have been a hotbed for attacks on vessels in recent years, with tensions flaring between Saudi Arabia and Iran.