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Seized British tanker violating maritime rules: Iran

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Tehran | July 21, 2019 2:41:20 AM IST
A day after it seized a British-flagged tanker, Iran on Saturday said that Steno Impero vessel was violating maritime rules and regulations by using an exit lane to enter the Strait of Hormuz.

According to IRNA, Iranian General Ramazan Sharif said the vessel was being escorted by the British Royal Navy when it "violated maritime rules and regulations" by sailing into the Strait of Hormuz in the wrong direction.

Iranian Navy has seized the tanker on the request of Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran's Hormozgan province.

Meanwhile, during the second emergency meeting, the United Kingdom on Saturday called the Iran actions to seize its tanker as "dangerous" and "illegal."

Earlier in the day, the UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt held a telephonic conversation with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif regarding the tanker seizure.

Meanwhile, video footage has surfaced which show the moment the British -flagged Stena Impero tanker was seized by the Iranian navy in the Strait of Hormuz.

During a meeting of the Movement of Non-Aligned Nations in Caracas, Venezuela, Zarif slammed "the new wave of aggressive US unilateralism"

Speaking at the forum, Zarif said: "(The new unilateralism) is threatening the rule of law on a global level and menacing peace and stability across the world."

"The few Arab regimes who sidelined with this American unilateralism are not only committing treason against the Palestinian people, they are also destabilizing the peace and security of the region, and their own security as well.

The owner of seized British flagged tankers has said that the crew is in good health.

"Our insurers in the region have been in contact with the Head of Marine Affairs at the Port of Bandar Abbas, who has reported that the crew members of our vessel Stena Impero are in 'good health' and that the tanker is at the nearby Bandar Bahonar anchorage," said the company in a statement.

"The Head of Marine Affairs has asked a formal request be made for a visit to be arranged to the crew members and vessel. We can confirm this formal request is being prepared forthwith. Our insurers have also advised that the Head of Marine Affairs has confirmed to them that no instructions have been received so far as to what will happen to the ship," it added.

Two ships were seized by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Friday -- the UK-flagged Stena Impero and a Liberian-flagged MV Mesdar.

Iranian media reported that the British vessel was captured after an accident with a fishing boat, while the IRGC said that the vessel was held for "violating international regulations."

While the Liberian-flagged ship was let off by Iran, Stena Impero has been taken to Iran's Bandar Abbas Port. Even though the ship was registered in the UK, there were no Britons on board. The 23-men crew was made up of people with Indian, Russian, Latvian and Filipino nationalities.

India is currently in touch with the Government of Iran to secure the early release and repatriations of Indian nationals onboard the detained UK-flagged vessel. (ANI)

 
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