TEHRAN: Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps announced on Friday they had confiscated a British tanker in the strategic Strait of Hormuz for breaking “international maritime rules.”
The Stena Impero tanker “was confiscated by the Revolutionary Guards at the request of Hormozgan Ports and Maritime Organisation when passing through the strait of Hormuz, for failing to respect international maritime rules,” the Guards’ official website Sepahnews announced.
The UK government convened an emergency COBRA meeting to formulate its response and a foreign ministry spokesperson said: “We are urgently seeking further information and assessing the situation following reports of an incident in the Gulf.”
Prime Minister Theresa May’s office declined to comment.
Refinitiv data showed the Stena Impero was a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk. It showed the vessel’s destination as the Saudi port of Jubail on the Gulf.
The map tracking the ship’s course showed it veering off course with a sharp turn north at about 1517 GMT on Friday and heading towards the Iranian coast.
The Stena company responsible for the ship also released a statement, which read: “Stena Bulk and Northern Marine Management can confirm that at approximately 1600 BST on 19th July, UK registered vessel Stena Impero (built 2018, 49,683 DWT) was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters. We are presently unable to contact the vessel which is now heading north towards Iran.
“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.
“Northern Marine Management has not been able to establish contact directly with the vessel since it was notified of the incident at approximately 1600 Today, 19th July 2019. We are in close contact with UK government authorities.”