British tanker allegedly stopped in waters of Oman

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Iranian Revolutionary Guards have put up an oil tanker on the Strait of Hormus. Great Britain reproaches Tehran severely.

According to Iran, the British tanker, which is anchored in the Strait of Hormus, anchored in the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas. The port and shipping authority of the Iranian province Hormosgan announced on Saturday that he had moored there after a collision with a fishing boat.

The “Stena Impero” “collided with a fishing boat”, said a representative of the Fars news agency. The 23 crew members are still on board. 18 of them, including the captain, were from India, the others from the Philippines, Latvia and Russia.

The fishing boat contacted the British vessel after the incident but received no response, said Allah-Morad Afifipoor, head of the Port and Shipping Authority of the Iranian province of Hormosgan. That is why the fishing boat has called in the shipping authority in accordance with the legal requirements.

The Swedish owner of the “Stena Impero” spoke of an “attack” against the ship. It had been attacked in the Strait of Hormus in international waters “by unidentified small ships and a helicopter”, the management of Stena Bulk and Northern Marine announced. The situation in the Persian Gulf is currently extremely tense. The incidents exacerbated tensions in the Persian Gulf. The British government warned Tehran of “serious consequences”.

British ships, too, should not cross the waters around the Strait of Hormus “for the time being”, the British government announced on Saturday. The British tanker “Mesdar”, sailing under the Liberian flag, was also upset the day before, but was then released again.

“We remain deeply concerned about Iran’s unacceptable approach to testing the international free movement of shipping,” said a government spokeswoman after a nightly meeting of the Cobra crisis team. It met again on Saturday afternoon. Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt subsequently stated that the tanker had been stopped in Oman’s waters.

There is still a desire not to let the situation escalate, Hunt continued. However, Tehran had clearly violated international laws. The British Parliament is to be informed of the results of the meeting on Monday.

Britain’s Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt had previously described the incident as a “hostile act” in Oman’s waters, according to British news channel Sky News. However, their ministry did not want to confirm the quotes.

Federal government demands “immediate” release

The German government has also called on Iran to release the tanker seized in the Strait of Hormus “without delay”. On Saturday, the Foreign Office in Berlin “emphatically” called on Iran to “immediately release” the “Stena Impero” and its crew. “A further regional escalation would be very dangerous,” declared a ministry spokesman.

“The Federal Government strongly condemns the fixing of two merchant ships in the Gulf,” said the Foreign Office spokesman in Berlin. “This is an unjustifiable encroachment on civilian shipping, dangerously exacerbating an already tense situation.

The EU Office for Foreign Affairs in Brussels declared that the confiscation of the tanker caused “deep concern”. “In an already tense situation, this development entails risks for further escalation and undermines ongoing efforts to find a way to resolve current tensions”, the statement continued. The US had previously announced its intention to increase its military presence in Saudi Arabia. (mes, AFP, dpa)

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Mette Frederiksen is a The Washington Newsday correspondent. With her coverage of general science, NASA and the interface between technology and society, Frederiksen has been in the Science Desk's Technology Beat since joining Washington Newsday in 2018.

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