World

British Tanker Seizure by Iran: Free 18 Indians on board seized tanker

British Tanker Seizure by Iran: Free 18 Indians on board seized tanker: A British-flagged oil tanker, the Stena Impero, is seized by Iran on Saturday after the country’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) stated that they had held it in the Strait of Hormuz for “violating international regulations.”

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The govt has approached Iran for release of 18 Indian nationals who are among the crew on board a British-flagged oil tanker seized by Tehran in the Strait of Hormuz
  • The Stena Impero was seized on Friday by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps
  • It had allegedly collided with an Iranian fishing boat

There was also a second tanker which was stopped on Friday, but it was then been allowed to carry on its course.

It was taken to Bander Abbas, which is positioned on Iran’s southern coast and opposite the strait. “All its 23 crew members will remain on the ship until the probe is over,” head of Ports and Maritime Organisation in southern Hormozgan province, Allahmorad Afifipour said. There are total number of 23 crew out of which 18 are Indian nationals and the remaining five are of other nationalities, he said.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that the UK is “not looking at military options” at this moment.

He said “freedom of navigation must be maintained” as well as warned of “serious consequences” if the situation is not settled down quickly.

Iran’s actions come amongst rising hostility in the middle of Tehran and Washington in recent weeks, and have also upraised the tensions in the already volatile region.

On Saturday, Mr Hunt tweeted regarding the concern, “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.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also responded to the warnings of Britain against anger in the Persian Gulf on Saturday with one of his own.

Zarif on Twitter said by referring to the UK’s seizure of an Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar, “Unlike the piracy in the Strait of Gibraltar, our action in the Persian Gulf is to uphold int’l maritime rules.

As I said in NY, it is IRAN that guarantees the security of the Persian Gulf & the Strait of Hormuz.

UK must cease being an accessory to #EconomicTerrorism of the US.”

Alan West, who is a former head of the Royal Navy, said that Britain should be unsurprised by the take hold on the Stena Impero tanker, and also warned that the UK had “too few ships” to defend its interests in the Gulf.

He told Sky News, “What I find extraordinary is that we knew that the Iranians would try something like this a few days ago,”.

He added, “I’m absolutely amazed that we haven’t implemented some sort of control of red ensign shipping within the region whereby no tanker would go in to what is clearly a dangerous zone without an escort, and I find it bizarre that we seem to have ships doing exactly that.”