Mon, 19 Aug 2019

British oil tanker Stena Impero now under control of Iranian forces

By Jay Jackson, Seoul News
20 Jul 2019, 09:36 GMT+10

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran has seized a British Oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, apparently in retailiation for Britains seizure of an Iranian oil tanker off the coast of Gibralter earlier this month.

Friday's seizure was carried out by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) which confirmed the incident and it's involvement in a statement released on Friday.

"The British oil tanker Stena Impero was stopped by the IRGC's First Division of Navy for not falling in line with maritime rules," the statement said.

The 30,000-ton British tanker has been taken to Iran for legal procedures, the statement added.

Stena Bulk which opereates the ship, which is only a year old, issued a statement on Friday confirming it was no longer in control of the tanker.

"Stena Bulk and Northern Marine Management can confirm that Swedish-owned vessel Stena Impero is no longer under the control of the crew and remains uncontactable," the statement said. "Soon after the vessel was approached by unidentified small naval craft and a helicopter during her transit of the Strait of Hormuz in international waters at approximate 1600 hrs BST today, the vessel suddenly deviated from her passage to Jubail and headed north towards Iran," the statement said.

"The vessel was in full compliance with all navigation and international regulations. The vessel is commercially managed by Stena Bulk of Sweden."

"There are 23 seafarers onboard of Indian, Russian, Latvian and Filipino nationality. There have been no reported injuries and the safety and welfare of our crew remains our primary focus. We are in close contact with both the UK and Swedish government authorities to resolve this situation and we are liaising closely with our seafarers' families," Erik Hanell, President and CEO of Stena Bulk said Friday.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is a candidate for the prime ministership, slammed the seizure, saying it was unacceptable.

"These seizures are unacceptable. It is essential that freedom of navigation is maintained and that all ships can move safely and freely in the region," he said Friday.

U.S. President Donald Trump was also seething over the incident.

"This only goes to show what I'm saying about Iran. Trouble. Nothing but trouble," he said.

"It goes to show you I was right about Iran."

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