Monday, 19 August 2019

Iran seize British-flagged tanker in Strait of Hormuz

File video of tanker seized by Iran, the Stena Impero. Tommy Chia/Stena Bulk via Reuters

TEHRAN: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Friday they had seized a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz for breaking “international maritime rules” as tensions mount in the highly sensitive waterway.

Britain, however, said Iran had seized two ships in the Gulf, with British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt warning of “serious consequences” if the issue was not resolved quickly.

The British owner of one of the tankers, the Liberian-flagged Mesdar, said the ship had been temporarily boarded by armed personnel, but was free to leave and that all crew were “safe and well.”

The latest incidents came as United States President Donald Trump insisted on Friday that the US military had downed an Iranian drone that was threatening an American naval vessel in the Strait of Hormuz — through which nearly a third of the world’s oil is transported — despite denials from Tehran.

Tensions in the Gulf have soared in recent weeks, with Trump calling off air strikes against Iran at the last minute in June after Tehran downed a US drone, and blaming Iran for a series of tanker attacks.

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