Iran ‘seizes British-flagged oil tanker’

Iran ‘seizes British-flagged oil tanker’

Iran ‘seizes British-flagged oil tanker’

Stena ImperoImage copyright
Erwin Willemse

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has acknowledged he is “extremely eager” by the seizure of two tankers by Iran.

The Stena Impero is British-flagged and the Mesdar is Liberian-flagged nonetheless British owned.

The Stena Impero’s owners stammer they’ve been unable to contact their vessel, which was “heading north in direction of Iran”.

They stammer there are 23 personnel on board the British-flagged oil tanker and it was approached by “unidentified minute crafts and a helicopter”.

Monitoring websites counsel the Mesdar may maybe maybe be encourage heading within the correct course and was stopped most effective briefly.

The govt.’s emergency committee, Cobra, is assembly in Whitehall later for the 2nd time on Friday to focus on the incident.

Mr Hunt acknowledged the seizures had been “unacceptable” and the emergency assembly would evaluate what the UK may maybe maybe attain to “swiftly stable the launch of the 2 vessels”.

“It is obligatory that freedom of navigation is maintained and that every ships can switch safely and freely within the space,” he added.

He acknowledged the tankers’ crews had been made up of a vary of nationalities nonetheless no British residents had been understood to be on board either vessel.

“Our ambassador in Tehran is in contact with the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to assemble to the bottom of the pickle and we are working closely with worldwide companions,” he acknowledged.

These most recent trends strategy amid heightened tensions between the UK, the US, and Iran.

Iranian media reported Stena Impero had been seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

The Tasnim news agency quoted the Ports and Maritime Organisation of Iran as announcing: “We obtained some experiences on the British oil tanker, Stena Impero, inflicting problems.

“We requested the defense force forces to files this tanker in direction of Bandar Abbas port to hang the important investigations implemented.”

Image copyright
Norbulk Shipping

Image caption

The Mesdar tanker

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard-affiliated news agency acknowledged the tanker was seized for breaking three guidelines: shutting down its GPS; going thru the exit of the Strait of Hormuz in preference to the doorway; and ignoring warnings.

Stena Bulk, the vessel proprietor, and Clydebank-essentially based mostly ship supervisor Northern Marine Administration confirmed the UK-registered Stena Impero was approached at around 16:00 BST on Friday whereas it was in worldwide waters.

A assertion acknowledged there had been no reported injuries and the safety of the crew was the precedence of every and each owners and managers.

Tensions between the UK and Iran flared up earlier this month when Royal Marines seized an Iranian tanker which was suspected of breaking EU sanctions.

The UK suspected Grace 1, detained on 4 July finish to Gibraltar, was carrying oil certain for Syria.

In step with the seizure, Iran threatened to elevate a British oil tanker.

On 9 July, the UK raised the threat to British shipping in Iranian waters within the Gulf to “severe” – the easiest level.

A day later, Iranian boats tried to hinder a British oil tanker within the space, earlier than being warned off by a Royal Navy ship, in step with the Ministry of Defence.

Iran denied any tried seizure.

Labour deputy chief Tom Watson tweeted that the most fresh experiences had been of “right venture”, including that “any switch to elevate a British tanker may maybe maybe be a important and putrid escalation of a pickle where de-escalation is wished”.

Sir Richard Dalton, vulnerable UK ambassador to Iran, prompt the BBC that Iran was “trying to place a dismay into the owners and operators of tankers” within the space.

‘Simplest negotiation will clear up this’

How can this episode be resolved ? The likely solution – most effective by negotiation. And that can hang to comprise the return of the tanker seized off Gibraltar.

Changed into the decision to arrest that allegedly Syria-certain tanker the finest form one, especially given the context of the continuing crisis within the Gulf ?

And did the UK govt answer effectively to the threats from Tehran?

We had been prompt that the eventual decision to despatch a 2nd warship to the Gulf was agonised over long and difficult; balancing the must retain far flung from escalation with the evident threat to UK-flagged vessels.

In the match the Iranians had been neither deterred nor dissuaded.

In the intervening time, the US claims to hang destroyed an Iranian drone within the Gulf, after Iran shot down an American defense force drone within the house in June.

US President Donald Trump acknowledged he would talk over with the UK following the claims that Iran had seized a British-registered tanker.

A White House Nationwide Security Council spokesman acknowledged it was the 2nd time in precisely over per week the UK had been “the target of escalatory violence” by Iran.

He added: “The US will proceed to work with our allies and companions to defend our safety and pursuits against Iran’s malign behaviour.”

Iran has been blamed by the US for attacks on tankers which hang took residing within the sphere’s key shipping house since Might maybe. Tehran denies the entire accusations.

Tensions between the US and Iran hang risen sharply for the reason that US tightened sanctions it reimposed on Iran after unilaterally withdrawing from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal.

‘Extra awkward questions for UK govt’

The UK govt’s immediate-convened crisis committees – is believed as Cobra – will be addressing various severe questions.

Is there a threat to life to the crew of the captured tanker? What intelligence is on hand, including from the US Navy and companies, on what exactly took residing?

How will we assemble to the bottom of this peacefully, ideally in coordination with allies and with out escalating the pickle? And somehow, what is at possibility of be the Iranians’ subsequent switch?

There are extra, awkward questions at possibility of be pursued at a later date.

How was this allowed to happen when Iran had already made its intentions perfectly clear? And when it had already it appears tried, unsuccessfully, to purchase a British-flagged vessel within the Gulf most effective a few days ago?

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