Iran seizes two British oil tankers in Persian Gulf

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt threatens robust response

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps said on Friday it had seized a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

According to the Iranian Fars news agency, the British oil tanker Stena Impero and its crew members were seized for violating 'international maritime rules and regulations in the Persian Gulf.'

Subsequent reports indicated that a second British tanker had been seized as well. The British-operated, Liberian-flagged Mesdar, turned sharply north towards Iran’s coast after passing westward through the Strait of Hormuz into the Gulf.

It was later reported that the Mesdar had been allowed to continue its course after Iranian officials followed up with the ship on its environmental regulations.

The ship then left Iranian waters.

Prior to the release of the Mesdar, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was reported to have said - 'I'm extremely concerned by the seizure of two naval vessels by Iranian authorities in the Strait of Hormuz.'

'The Iranians should be under no illusions that there will be a robust response'

'I will shortly attend a COBRA meeting to review what we know and what we can do to swiftly secure the release of the two vessels - a British-flagged vessel and a Liberian-flagged vessel. Their crews comprise a range of nationalities, but we understand there are no British citizens on board either ship,' he added.

'These seizures are unacceptable. It is essential that freedom of navigation is maintained and that all ships can move safely and freely in the region,' stressed Hunt.

Author's comment: One does not wish to cast aspersions on the effect that the incandescent wrath of Jeremy Hunt might have on the Iranians, but the British satellite tracking systems in the Persian Gulf are unlikely to have to be recalibrated due to the build-up of static from Iranians quaking in their boots.

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