Dubai/London: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said they have captured British oil tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz, Iranian state television reported on Friday.
The IRGC seized the tanker at the request of the maritime authorities in the Iranian province of Hormozgan for “not following international maritime regulations,” state television cited an IRGC statement as saying.
The tanker was taken to a coastal area and turned over to the authorities to take the necessary legal steps, state television said.
Britain, meanwhile, said it was urgently seeking further information after a British-flagged tanker took a sudden turn into Iranian waters.
Relations between Iran and the West have been increasingly strained after Britain seized an Iranian tanker in Gibraltar on suspicion of smuggling oil to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions.
“We are urgently seeking further information and assessing the situation following reports of an incident in the Gulf,” a spokesman for Britain’s Ministry of Defence said on Friday.
The company that manages the Stena Impero said it was unable to contact the crew after it was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz.
Northern Marine Management said the tanker was now heading north towards Iran. Northern Marine Group is owned by Stena AB.
The political editor of the Sunday Times said on Twitter that a meeting of the government’s emergency committee was taking place to investigate what had happened.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s office declined to comment.
Refinitiv data showed the Stena Impero is a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk. Refinitiv data on its movements showed it had been en route to Jubail in Saudi Arabia.
Another map tracking the location of the Stena Impero showed it making a sharp turn in the Strait of Hormuz, at the southern entrance to the Gulf, and heading towards Iranian waters.
Iran ‘Captures’ British Oil Tanker on Gulf, Ship Company Loses Contact With Crew – The Wire