Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said on Friday that its naval forces have seized a British-flagged Swedish-owned oil tanker in the Gulf, for allegedly violating international laws.
In a statement, the IRGC announced that the British oil tanker “Stena Impero” has been captured on Friday evening “because of violating the international maritime regulations when crossing the Strait of Hormuz.”
The Stena Impero tanker was taken by the IRGC “at the request of Hormozgan Ports and Maritime Organisation when passing through the Strait of Hormuz, for failing to respect international maritime rules,” the IRGC announced.
IRGC’s statement noted that the tanker “was led to the shore and handed over to the organisation to go through the legal procedure and required investigations.”
“Stena Bulk and Northern Marine Management can confirm that Swedish-owned vessel Stena Impero is no longer under the control of the crew and remains uncontactable,” Northern Marine Management company said in a statement published on its official website.
The statement clarified that “there are 23 seafarers onboard of Indian, Russian, Latvian, and Filipino nationality.”
UK Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, expressed deep concern over the seizure of two oil tankers, in the Gulf, accusing Iran of choosing a dangerous path of illegal and destabilising behaviour after capturing the British-flagged tanker in the Gulf.
Hunt described Iran’s move as “unacceptable action”, adding that a second British-owned Liberian-flagged tanker, the MV Mesdar, was also boarded by the IRGC before it was released.
He stressed that the freedom of navigation must be maintained, warning of serious consequences if the situation is not resolved quickly. “We are not looking at military options. We are looking at a diplomatic way to resolve this situation,” he added.
Moreover, Hunt tweeted on Saturday, “Yesterday’s action in Gulf shows worrying signs Iran may be choosing a dangerous path of illegal and destabilising behaviour after Gibraltar’s legal detention of oil bound for Syria.”
Iran denied that the IRGC has seized a second Liberian-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf.
Meanwhile, the United States announced on Thursday, bringing down an Iranian drone in Hormuz Strait because it came close to a US warship. Iran denied the US statements.
On June 20, the IRGC shot down a US drone over the Strait of Hormuz.
IRGC accused the US drone of violating Iranian airspace. However, the US military denied the Iranian accusations stressing that the drone had been over international waters.