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Iran announces capture of British oil tanker. British holding emergency meeting now.

File photo: Iranian navy gun boat

PortandTerminal.com, July 19, 2019

What we know:

  • The Stena Impero was seized in the Strait of Hormuz at 4pm BST by Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces 
  • The British-registered tanker was ordered to turn to the north and was taken into Iranian territorial waters
  • A second vessel, the British-operated Mesdar has also been seized by Iran according to the Foreign Office. Other reports say that it was released by the Iranians.

TEHRAN, IRAN – Iran have said that they captured one British ship in the narrow Strait of Hormuz Friday. US officials say that a second has also been seized.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said on Friday that its navy had captured the British-flagged oil tanker, Stena Impero, according to Iran’s state-run Press TV. The IRGC accused the tanker of “violating international regulations,” to Press TV.

The Stena Impero had turned off its tracker and ignored warnings, Press TV also reported, citing Iranian military sources. US defense officials confirmed that the tanker had been seized.

Later in the day, US officials said that another ship — the Liberian flagged MV Mesdar tanker — had also been seized by Iran on Friday. The order of seizure of the two ships isn’t clear at this time. One report states that The Mesdar tanker, bound for Saudi Arabia, was boarded by Iran forces but then let go.

Sources say the Stena Impero now appears to be headed towards an #IRGC facility in Qeshm, #Iran. An emergency #UK security meeting underway now.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was extremely concerned. “It is essential that freedom of navigation is maintained and that all ships can move safely and freely in the region,” Hunt said ahead of a national security meeting on the issue.

In a statement, the Stena Impero’s owner Stena Bulk and operator Northern Marine Management said that the Stena Impero had been “approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters” at approximately 4 pm local time (12 pm ET). There are 23 seafarers aboard the ship, they added, saying that they are currently unable to make contact with the vessel, which is now heading north towards Iran.

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