PortandTerminal.com, July 24, 2019
TEHRAN, IRAN – All 23 crew on a British-flagged tanker seized last week by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz are safe and well, the vessel’s Swedish operator Stena Bulk said on Wednesday after speaking to them.
Iran said on Saturday it had seized the Stena Impero because it had collided with a fishing boat. Stena Bulk has said it has received no evidence of such a collision.
“We had direct contact with the crew on board the vessel last night by telephone and they’re all okay and in good health and they’re getting good cooperation with the Iranians on board,” the firm’s spokesman Pat Adamson said.
Britain described the seizure as piracy and called on Monday for a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait, a strategic waterway for oil transportation.
Images distributed on the Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) show members of the crew on the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero after it was seized by members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the Gulf Straight of Hormuz.
The men could be seen sitting cross-legged on the bridge having had their shoes removed and piled up.
A video released shows seven of the crew wearing red jumpsuits and sitting around a table, as one Iranian guard can be heard thanking them for their cooperation. The cameraman can also be heard telling them not to look at him. Another video shows the crew laughing while standing around a coffee machine, and the ship’s cooks preparing food in an apparent attempt to show they are being treated well.
Two other photos show an armed guardsman on the deck of the tanker, and the tanker being watched over by armed boats at the port of Bandar Abbas, where it is being held.
For now, it appears that the Stena Impero’s crew are being well treated by their captors. Let there be no mistake though, all 23 of the crew of the Stena Impero including nationals from India, the Philippines, Russia and Latvia are now Iranian hostages.
Let there be no mistake though, all 23 of the crew of the Stena Impero including nationals from India, the Philippines, Russia and Latvia are now Iranian hostages.
The crew of the Stena Impero have now become bargaining chips to be negotiated over, put on display and treated in whichever way Iran decides.
Stena Bulk said the crew’s family members were being kept updated on the latest developments and being offered the firm’s full support.
If all of this brings to mind the 52 American hostages that were held by Iran for forty years ago then it should.
The Iran hostage crisis was a diplomatic standoff between the United States and Iran (sound familiar?). Fifty-two American diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981, after a group of Iranian college students who supported the Iranian Revolution, took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
In Iran, the crisis strengthened the prestige of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the political power of theocrats who opposed any normalization of relations with the West.
The crisis also led to American economic sanctions against Iran, which further weakened ties between the two countries.
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