Iran Announces Seizure of British Stena Impero Tanker; U.K. Officials Gather to Discuss Next Move

  • Increasing tensions in the Middle East between Iran, the U.S. and the U.K., Iran announced on Friday that it seized British-flagged oil tanker, the Stena Impero, as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway that sees 1/3 of the world’s oil passing through.
  • On its website, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard posted it captured the ship for “non-compliance with international maritime laws and regulations” and allegedly took the ship to an Iranian port.
  • A British source says that the seizure is related to the Grace 1 tanker seizure, an Iranian ship that was seized by Gibraltar officials with help from the British Royal Marines earlier this month for alleged EU sanctions violations.
  • The U.K. will hold a Cobra meeting with officials from the Ministry of Defense, the Foreign Office and other government offices to determine its next move in responding to Iran.
  • A Ministry of Defense spokesman said: “We are urgently seeking further information and assessing the situation following reports of an incident in the Gulf.”
  • A Ministry of Defense source said: “It is really concerning that this has happened.”
  • The ship’s owner, Stena Bulk, and operator Northern Marine Management “confirmed in a statement that at 4pm BST the vessel was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters.”
  • The owner and operator said: “We are presently unable to contact the vessel which is now heading north towards Iran.”
  • The statement continued: “There are 23 seafarers aboard. There have been no reported injuries and their safety is of primary concern to both owners and managers. The priority of both vessel owner Stena Bulk and ship manager Northern Marine Management is the safety and welfare of the crew.”
  • U.S. National Security Council Spokesman Garrett Marquis said: “This is the second time in just over a week the UK has been the target of escalatory violence by the Iranian regime. The U.S. will continue to work with our allies and partners to defend our security and interests against Iran’s malign behavior.”

Reference Links

  • The Guardian: Iran claims to have seized British oil tanker in strait of Hormuz READ
  • CNBC: Iran says it captured British oil tanker; oil prices jump READ
  • Fox: UK-flagged tanker seized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard in Strait of Hormuz READ
  • The Telegraph: British-flagged tanker seized by Iran in escalation of Gulf tensions READ

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