Seoul dispatched the 4,400-tonne Choi Young destroyer to the region after Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy impounded MT Hankuk Chemi on January 4 for endangering the marine ecosystem.
South Korea later sent its First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun to Tehran, but was told by Iranian officials that the detention was a prerogative of the Islamic Republic's judicial system.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibi said at the time that the matter was moving along its legal path and did not require a diplomatic trip.
“The Korean government’s behavior in this regard is incomprehensible. ... We urge them to approach this technical issue rationally and responsibly,” Khatibzadeh said.