The Greek owner of the crude oil tanker St. Nikolas seized in the Gulf of Oman by Iran’s navy last week has for the first time made contact through the local P&I Club Correspondent with the vessel’s crew members.

All the 19 seafarers in total (18 Filipinos and one Greek) on board the Marshall-flagged St. Nikolas “are safe and in good health,” as the company reports.

The local P&I Club Correspondent came in contact with the Iranian authorities yesterday and confirmed the news.

The company have not been in direct touch with their crew since the vessel’s seizure on January 11th and the satellite communications system remains disabled.

As it is reported, the St. Nikolas remains at the Bandar Abbas anchorage in Iran.

The vessel had loaded the previous days in Basrah (Iraq) a cargo of about 145,000 mts of crude oil destined to Aliaga (Turkey), via the Suez Canal.

Empire Navigation is the manager of the vessel, and Tupras is the charterer.

“Standing by the families of the captured seafarers, Empire Navigation established yesterday, January 13, a mental health and psychological support service, provided by specialized professionals. This will continue to be offered to the families until the seafarers are safely released and will, of course, be provided to the seafarers themselves upon their return and for as long as advised by medical professionals,” the manager of the vessel stated last night.

“Empire Navigation has notified the pertinent Greek and international authorities from the first moment and is in close and constant cooperation with them as well as with the crew members’ next of kin.”

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKTMO), received a report last week of a vessel boarded by 4-5 armed persons in an area 50 nautical miles east of Sohar, Oman.

“Unauthorised boarders are reported to be wearing military style black uniforms with black masks,” UKMTO said.

“CSO reports vessel has altered course towards Iranian territorial waters and communications with the vessel have been lost. CSO reports hearing unknown voices over the phone along with the Masters voice.”