Iran’s Revolutionary Guards terror group seizes British tanker, kidnaps 23 crew members
BREAKING: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards terror group seized the British oil tanker Stena Impero and kidnapped its crew members for “violating international maritime rules and regulations in the Persian Gulf”, the country’s state TV says.
The British government said it is urgently seeking further information after the British tanker was seen to have suddenly veered off course and headed into Iranian waters, raising fears that it has been captured by the Iranian navy.
It is understood the British-flagged tanker was surrounded by small craft and helicopters and ordered to turn north into Iranian waters.
The vessel is now apparently heading to Qeshm in Iran but had been originally sailing towards Al Jubail in Saudi Arabia.
The British government said it was “assessing the situation following reports of an incident in the Gulf.”
A statement from Stena Bulk, the company which owns the tanker, said the firm had lost contact with the crew of 23 after it was approached by ‘unidentified small crafts and a helicopter’ at around 4 pm.
The Panamanian-flagged oil tanker MT Riah stopped transmitting its location overnight on Sunday near Qeshm Island, which has a Revolutionary Guard terror group base on it.
The UK is set to send another major warship to protect British commercial oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, the Ministry of Defense said on Tuesday.
The US and its allies are discussing plans to provide naval escorts for oil tankers through the Gulf, a top US general said last week, hours after three armed Iranian boats attempted to seize a British oil tanker.
The US is preparing to send 500 troops to a remote base east of the Saudi capital Riyadh to front up to the growing Iran threat, CNN reported last night citing two US defense officials.
Iran recently started enriching uranium beyond a limit established in a 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, a deal from which Trump withdrew. Trump has since intensified economic sanctions on Tehran, and tensions have escalated.