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Crew of British ship held by Iran are ‘safe’

July 24, 2019 at 2:42 pm

Crew members of the British tanker seized by Iran

The crew of British tanker seized by Iran are safe, the vessel’s owner said today.

The Stena Impero and its 23 crewmembers were captured by Iranian forces last Friday and remained uncontactable until yesterday.

Erik Hannell, chief executive of the company that operates the tanker, Stena Bulk, expressed hope that contact was “a first sign that we will soon see more positive progress from the Iranian authorities”.

A spokesperson for Stena Bulk said they were working on getting someone onboard the ship to check the crew’s welfare, but nothing has been agreed.

Iran claimed the tanker was impounded due to a collision with a fishing boat, and not a reaction to the UK seizure of the Iranian oil tanker being held in Gibraltar.

READ: Oil prices rise more than 1% after Iran seizes British tanker

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said: “Iran does not seek confrontation. But we have 1,500 miles of Persian Gulf coastline. These are our waters and we will protect them.”

This comes as military representatives from the UK, US and its allies are due to meet tomorrow at Central Command in Tampa, Florida to discuss plans to protect ships travelling through the Strait of Hormuz.

It is rumoured that participants will lay out what their countries will contribute to the protection of the strategic waterway by way of personnel, warships and air power.

Former UK Conservative leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt previously called for a European-led mission to protect ships travelling through the vital shipping route after the US initially called for countries to protect their own ships.

READ: Allies play hard to get on US proposal to protect oil shipping lanes