Iran seizes UK oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz

Iran seizes UK oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz
Published: 21 July 2019 - 1:30 p.m.
By: Carla Sertin

Iran seized a UK oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard boarding the vessel via helicopter in the strategic transportation chokepoint on Friday.

It claims the vessel broke maritime navigational regulations, but the UK denies this and has said that Iran's seizure of the tanker is illegal.

Sky News published an audio clip of the exchange between Iranian officers and those aboard the Stena Impero.

"Alter your course to 360 degrees immediately, over."

A British officer on the HMS Montrose which was patrolling the surrounding area advised the Stena Impero that "as you are conducting transit passage in a recognised international strait, under international law your passage must not be impaired, obstructed or hampered."

The Royal Navy then asked for confirmation that the UK-flagged Stena Impero was transiting through a recognised international strait. It then asked the Iranian officers to "please confirm that you are not intending to violate international law by unlawfully attempting to board the MV Stena."

The ship was ultimately seized by the Iranian Navy, who rappelled aboard via helicopter and brought the Stena Impero to Bandar Abbas port, with no reported injuries.

UK officials have condemned the action, with UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt demanding that the tanker be released. According to Oil & Gas Middle East's sister publication Logistics Middle East, the UK's defence minister, Tobias Ellwood, said that the nation could use sanctions against Iran as a reponse to the situation.

"It raises very serious questions about the security of British shipping, and indeed international shipping, in the strait of Hormuz,” Hunt said.

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