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Iran seizes British Oil Tanker in Strait of Hormuz

TEHRAN – Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps announced that it has confiscated a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, Yenisafak announced on Saturday.
“The British tanker Stena Impero has been arrested by the IRGC’s first Marine Division for failing to comply with the maritime rules,” the Iranian forces said in a statement.
It follows Britain’s seizure on July 04 of an Iranian-flagged oil tanker off Gibraltar, a British overseas territory bordering southern Spain. Grace 1 is suspected of smuggling oil into Syria.
The 30,000-ton British-flagged vessel was taken to Iran for judicial proceedings, according to the corps statement.
The owner and the oil tanker management company confirmed that they had lost contact with the vessel.
“We are currently unable to contact the ship that is now heading north towards Iran,” the company said.
“Stena Impero was approached by unidentified boats and a helicopter during the transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the ship was in international waters,” he said.
“There are 23 sailors on board, no injuries have been reported and their safety is a primary concern for both owners and managers,” he added.
The UK Foreign Office said it “urgently seeks additional information and assesses the situation”.
In London, the government’s emergency response committee, Cobra, was summoned. The Ministry of Defense pointed out that there were ships in the area but could not provide any additional details about what had happened.
Asked about the tanker’s detention, President Donald Trump said that the United States “will talk about this issue in the UK”.
On Thursday, the captain and the seized oil tanker’s office were arrested by the Gibraltar police after a week-long investigation.
On the same day as the arrests, a British warship prevented three Iranian navy ships from blocking the passage of a British tanker out of the Persian Gulf. The government has accused Iran of violating international law, since the oil tanker is not in Iranian waters.
Iran demanded the release of its crew and ship and threatened London with retaliatory measures, a speech that raises tensions between the two countries in a region already plagued by war and conflict with the West.
Britain said in a statement that the Royal Navy “will resolutely defend the British maritime interests in the Gulf, but has no interest in aggravating the situation.”
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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