Two British oil tankers ‘seized by Iranian Armed Forces in the Gulf’

Two British tankers has been seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in the Gulf, say Iran media.

It is believed the Stena Impero and the Mesdar Crude Oil tanker are heading towards Iran.

The Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office say the Government is ‘urgently seeking further information’, while Donald Trump confirmed the US will begin talks with UK officials.

Stena Impero Management confirmed that its UK registered vessel had been ‘approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters’.

It added there are 23 seafarers on board, when the incident occurred at around 4pm today.

The company said in a statement: ‘There have been no reported injuries and their safety is of primary concern to both owners and managers.’ ‘Northern Marine Management has not been able to establish contact directly with the vessel since it was notified of the incident at approximately 16.00 today, 19th July 2019,’ added Stena Impero.

A second tanker, the Liberian-flagged MV Mesdar which is owned by British company Norbulk Shipping UK Ltd, has also been seized according to a US official.

Iran’s state news agency says the seized British-flagged tanker in the gulf had turned off its tracker and ignored warnings.

But according to Tasnim news agency, the Iranian Ports and Maritime Organisation said: ‘We received some reports on the British oil tanker, Stena Impero, causing problems.

‘We asked the military forces to guide this tanker towards Bandar Abbas port to have the required investigations carried out.’
Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt has been briefed on reports that the tanker has moved towards Iranian waters, reported Sky.

Cobra, the government’s emergency committee, is currently meeting in Whitehall to discuss the incident, reported the BBC.

A statement from the Foreign Office said: ‘We are urgently seeking further information and assessing the situation following reports of an incident in the Gulf.’

The incident comes amid heightened tensions between the UK and Iran after Royal Marines seized an Iranian tanker near Gibraltar, which was suspected of breaking EU laws.

The UK suspected the tanker was carrying oil to Syria and detained it on July 4.

 Iran then threatened to seize a British oil tanker, causing the UK government to declare the threat of shipping in Iranian waters as ‘critical’.

The Ministry of Defence said the following day Iranian ships had attempted to hinder a British tanker but was diverted away by a Royal Navy ship. However, Iran denied claims of attempting to seize the tanker.

 Source: Metro

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