Iran’s Revolutionary Guard says it has seized a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz:
— Press TV (@PressTV) July 19, 2019
CNBC reports that the Brits have lost contact with the oil tanker:
Britain said it was urgently seeking further information after reports that a British-flagged tanker had taken a turn into Iranian waters.
“We are urgently seeking further information and assessing the situation following reports of an incident in the Gulf,” a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said on Friday.
The operator said it cannot currently contact the ship.
Stena Bulk and Northern Marine Management can confirm that at approximately 1600 BST on 19th July UK registered vessel Stena Impero (built 2018, 49,683 DWT) was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters. We are presently unable to contact the vessel which is now heading north towards Iran.
There are 23 seafarers aboard. There have been no reported injuries and their safety is of primary concern to both owners and managers. The priority of both vessel owner Stena Bulk and ship manager Northern Marine Management is the safety and welfare of the crew.
Northern Marine Management has not been able to establish contact directly with the vessel since it was notified of the incident at approximately 1600 Today, 19th July 2019.
We are in close contact with UK government authorities.
This would seem to be quite the escalation by Iran, just daring the US to intervene.
UPDATE: The British-flagged tanker is actually Swedish-owned. Here’s more on the situation:
"To say that these are sensitive waters is an understatement. The safety of these waters is vital to international commerce."@barbarastarrcnn reports that US officials say a British tanker in the Persian Gulf has been seized by Iran.
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) July 19, 2019
UPDATE 2: Iran has now seized a second tanker, according to CNN:
Iran has seized a second tanker, the Liberian-flagged MV Mesdar, according to a US official. The order of seizure of this one and the British-flagged tanker isn't clear at this time. https://t.co/mtEJ4X9dlh pic.twitter.com/h7mXiIWTRN
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) July 19, 2019
Iran has also seized a second tanker, the Liberian-flagged MV Mesdar, according to a US official. Two more US officials tell CNN that, according to maritime intelligence reports, the indication is the Mesdar has been seized.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps announced earlier that its navy has captured a British-flagged tanker ‘Stena Impero’ in the Strait of Hormuz.
The order of seizure of the two ships isn’t clear at this time.
We’ll keep you updated as this develops…