ABC News reports the UK is now convening a high level national security meeting after British flagged tanker, the Stena Impero, was seized by the IRGC in the Strait of Hormuz. The vessel’s owner and ship manager ‘Stena Bulk’ says it is unable to contact the vessel.
A company press release said 23 are on board, with no reported injuries. The statement said the vessel “was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters”.
A US statement called the seizure the “latest episode of escalatory violence.” The White House National Security Council stated further it will continue working with allies and partners in the region to “defend against Iran’s maligned behavior”.
Given the rapidly escalating events only over the past week, and with now two foreign tankers captured by Iran, war is no doubt on the horizon.
A British flagged tanker has been seized by Iran as it was heading toward Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf. The vessel has been identified as the ‘Stena Impero’ which according to public tracking data was expected at the port of Al Jubail in Saudi Arabia; however, on Friday it dramatically veered off course and began sailing directly into Iranian waters.
Iran state media has confirmed the IRGC announced it has “captured a British tanker in the Persian Gulf” because the vessel was “violating international regulations”. CNN is reporting that US officials have confirmed Iran captured the British vessel in the Strait of Hormuz.
The UK Defence Journal first reported based on satellite tracking: “The British flagged ‘Stena Impero’ has taken a very sudden turn into Iranian waters despite her original destination being Saudi Arabia, according to data relayed by maritime tracking services.”
“The vessel is now apparently heading to Qeshm in Iran but had been originally sailing towards Al Jubail in Saudi Arabia,” according to the breaking report.
Crucially, this comes just as UK officials have announced authorties in Gibraltar will detain the tanker ‘Grace 1’ – first seized early this month by UK Royal Marines – for another 30 days.
Iran had promised to retaliate in kind, following the continuing detention of a UAE-based Panamanian flagged vessel, the Riah, this week.
Oil prices spiked on the news…