A move which did not go unanswered

IRGC captures British oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz

July 19, 2019

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has said that it has captured a British oil tanker for breaching international maritime law while crossing the Strait of Hormuz.

The IRGC’s Public Relations Department said in a statement on Friday that the vessel named “Stena Impero” had been confiscated “at the request of Hormozgan Ports and Maritime Organization when passing through the Strait of Hormuz, for failing to respect international maritime rules.”

Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei had slammed earlier the UK’s illegal seizure of an Iranian supertanker in Gibraltar, saying the act of “piracy” will not go unanswered.

Meanwhile, the Reuters reported that a spokesman for Britain’s Ministry of Defence said on Friday that London is urgently seeking further information and assessing the situation following reports of the incident in the Persian Gulf.

The political editor of the Sunday Times said on Twitter that a meeting of the government’s emergency committee was taking place to investigate what had happened.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s office declined to comment.

Refinitiv data showed the Stena Impero is a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk.

In another development, U.S. President Donald Trump has said Iran may have seized two tankers in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday. Reuters also reported that a second British-operated tanker had also taken a sharp northerly turn and was heading toward Iran after passing through the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf. Reuters said the source on the movement of Liberian flagged tanker Mesdar was Refinitiv data. Iran has not confirmed seizure of the second ship.

Trump told reporters at the White House that the U.S. would be working with the British on the tanker situation.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he is concerned by the seizure of two ships by Iranian authorities , and the the UK is attempting to resolve the situation in Tehran and with international partners.

“I’m extremely concerned by the seizure of two naval vessels by Iranian authorities in the Strait of Hormuz,” said Hunt. 

“I will shortly attend a COBR meeting to review what we know and what we can do to swiftly secure the release of the two vessels — a British-flagged vessel and a Liberian-flagged vessel.”

The item updated

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