Dramatic moment Iran seizes Brit oil tanker as balaclava-clad commandos abseil onto deck from helicopter in the Gulf – The Sun
DRAMATIC footage shows balaclava-clad Iranian commandos hijacking a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.
Video released today captures the moment Tehran troops abseil onto the Stena Impero with 23 crew on board last night.
Iran's Revolutionary Guard launched a gunboat and helicopter raid on the tanker, which is registered in the UK, claiming it had turned off its tracker and ignored warnings.
Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt said in a Twitter message that the ship has been seized in Omani waters "in clear contravention of international law".
Another vessel, the Mesdar, was also intercepted and forced towards Iranian territory in what appeared to be a co-ordinated strike.
Footage shows speedboats surrounding the stricken vessel before the commandos storm the ship.
A UK warship sped to help a British oil tanker that was seized by Iran but arrived ten minutes too late.
The HMS Montrose was dispatched to protect the Stena Impero but arrived after the tanker had entered Iranian waters.
The Impero is now thought to be moored on Iran's Qeshm Island although its exact whereabouts is uncertain but is thought to be near Bandar Abbas.
Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif, a spokesman for the Revolutionary Guards, claimed the tanker was now "in the hands of the Hormuzgan Ports and Maritime Organisation".
Govt emergency cttee COBR met again this pm.Reaffirmed UK desire to de-escalate but confirmed Stena Impero was seized in OMANI waters in clear contravention of international law & discussed how 2 secure safety of UK/int shipping in Straits of Hormuz. Parliament 2 be updated Mon
— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) July 20, 2019
The UK has warned of "serious consequences" after Iran last night sparked a new Gulf crisis by seizing two British oil tankers.
It comes as dramatic photos from last week showed HMS Montrose intercepting Iranian patrol boats surrounding the UK-flagged tanker British Heritage.
And Tehran's foreign minister accused Britain of being an "accessory to the economic terrorism of the US" as tensions escalated.
IRAN CRISIS: The key points so far
- Commandos from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard stormed UK-flagged oil tanker the Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday, taking the 23 crew captive.
- Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose steamed to its aid but arrived ten minutes after it was diverted into Iranian waters.
- A second tanker, the British-owned Mesdar, was also boarded by Iranian troops but later allowed to continue its journey to Saudi Arabia.
- Jeremy Hunt said there would be “serious consequences” and promised a "robust response" while Donald Trump said Iran is in "big trouble".
- Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused Britain of “economic terrorism” and repeated demands for Gibraltar to release an Iranian tanker seized while smuggling oil to Syria.
- The Royal Navy released footage of a failed attempt by Iran to seize BP tanker British Heritage, which was foiled by the Montrose last week.
Javad Zarif stepped up the war of words with Britain, tweeting: "Unlike the piracy in the Strait of Gibraltar, our action in the Persian Gulf is to uphold international maritime rules.
"As I said in NY, it is Iran that guarantees the security of the Persian Gulf & the Strait of Hormuz.
"UK must cease being an accessory to #EconomicTerrorism of the US."
Iran's charge d'affaires Mohsen Omidzamani was summoned to the Foreign Office following the seizure of the tanker, while Mr Hunt speak to Mr Jarif on the phone.
It comes two weeks after Royal Marines seized Iran's Grace 1 tanker off Gibraltar - prompting Tehran to threaten "retaliation".
The ship appeared to be in violation of EU sanctions on exporting oil to Syria but Iran called it an act of piracy.
The Iran Students News Agency, partially funded by the country's government, has also taunted the UK today by releasing pictures of the Stena Impero docked in Bandar Abbas, southern Iran.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who attended an emergency Cobra meeting, said there would be "serious consequences" and pledged a robust response.
But he added: "We're not looking at military options, we're looking at a diplomatic way to resolve the situation, but we are very clear that it must be resolved."
Mr Hunt said the Stena Impero was surrounded by four vessels and a helicopter, and was heading into Iranian waters.
Mr Hunt said: "This is totally and utterly unacceptable. It raises very serious questions about the security of British shipping, and indeed international shipping, in the Strait of Hormuz."
He added: "Our priority continues to be to find a way to de-escalate the situation.
"That's why I reached out to the Iranian foreign minister, that's why due process in Gibraltar continues.
"We need to see due process happening in Iran as well, we need to see the illegal seizing of a British flagged vessel reversed, we need that ship released, and we continue to be very concerned about the safety and welfare of the 23 crew members."
A statement on the situation will be made to parliament on Monday and will to detail the further measures Britain will take.
Ministers are drawing up plans to hit Tehran with a bundle of sanctions, The Sunday Telegraph reports.
The measures are said to include diplomatic and economic measures, including a possible asset freeze.
Britain could also send a nuclear-powered submarine and Royal Marine Commandos to boost the Navy's defences in the Gulf.
HMS Duncan, a Type 45 air-defence destroyer, is already heading towards the Gulf to assist the Navy’s only warship in the area, the Type 23 Duke class frigate HMS Montrose.
Britain could also join up with the US to create an international force to escort ships through the Strait of Hormuz.
Mr Hunt is thought to have kept his rival for the leadership of the Conservative Party Boris Johnson updated on developments with Mr Johnson widely tipped to takeover from Theresa May next week.
Mr Hunt is also expected to push for both EU and United Nations sanctions to be reimposed on the regime after they were lifted in 2016 as part of the deal on Iran's nuclear programme.
Taking to Twitter on Saturday Mr Hunt said: "Yesterday's action in Gulf shows worrying signs Iran may be choosing a dangerous path of illegal and destabilising behaviour after Gibraltar's LEGAL detention of oil bound for Syria.
'NOTHING BUT TROUBLE'
"As I said yesterday our reaction will be considered but robust. We have been trying to find a way to resolve Grace1 issue but WILL ensure the safety of our shipping."
President Donald Trump last night called Iran "nothing but trouble", adding: "It goes to show I was right about Iran."
Yesterday the British-flagged Stena Impero, which was bounded for Saudi Arabia from the UAE, suddenly changed course and was diverted towards the island of Qeshm, where Iran's Revolutionary Guard has a large base.
Iran claimed the ship had "failed to respect international maritime rules" by switching off its tracker and heading the wrong way in a shipping lane.
UK must cease being an accessory to economic terrorism of the US
Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif
Iran's state-run IRNA news agency since claimed the country's seizure of British-flagged oil tanker was due to a collision with an Iranian fishing boat.
The report said the British tanker caused damage to the fishing boat, then did not respond to calls from the smaller craft.
Sweden's Stena Bulk, the owner of the Stena Impero, said the Revolutionary Guard - classed as a terror group by the US - used small craft and a helicopter.
Erik Hanell, president and chief executive of Stena Bulk, said: "There are 23 seafarers on board of Indian, Russian, Latvian and Filipino nationality.
"There have been no reported injuries and the safety and welfare of our crew remains our primary focus.
"We are in close contact with both the UK and Swedish government authorities to resolve this situation and we are liaising closely with our seafarers' families."
The Liberian-flagged by British-owned Mesdar was also diverted towards the mainland about 40 minutes later.
It was said to have been stormed by gunmen but later released.
Neither of the two ships had any British crew on board.
UK vessels have been advised to "stay out of the area" of the Strait of Hormuz for an "interim period", a government spokesman said.
TIMELINE OF THE IRAN CRISIS
June 13: Two US oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz were attacked in an assault that left one ablaze and adrift, with 44 sailors evacuated.
July 4: Royal Marines off the coast of Gibraltar seize the supertanker Grace 1 suspected of carrying Iranian oil to Syria.
July 10: HMS Montrose trains its guns on Iran gunboats trying to hijack a British tanker, the BP-owned Heritage.
July 16: Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei called the seizure of the Grace 1 tanker "piracy" and vowed to retaliate, but Gibraltar is still holding it.
July 17: Iran seized a Panama-flagged oil tanker from the United Arab Emirates as it travelled through the Strait of Hormuz.
July 18: President Donald Trump reveals the US Navy shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after warnings were ignored.
July 19: Two British oil tankers are boarded by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard in the Strait. One, the Stena Impero, is 'confiscated' with 23 crew on board.
The incident follows on from recent heightened tensions in the Gulf involving Iran, the US and UK.
Last week, the Royal Navy warship frigate HMS Montrose drove off three Iranian vessels which tried to stop the commercial ship British Heritage as it sailed through the Strait of Hormuz.
Fears were raised the Iranian authorities were trying to seize a UK ship in retaliation for the detention of the Grace 1 tanker.
The Iranian ship was detained off the coast of Gibraltar on July 4 after it was suspected of violating EU sanctions by carrying a cargo of crude oil to Syria.
The ship's captain, chief officer and two second officers were arrested and bailed and an investigation is ongoing.
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the tanker's seizure an act of "piracy" on Tuesday and warned the UK to expect a response.
Mr Hunt offered to help release Grace 1 if Iran guaranteed it would not breach sanctions imposed on Bashar Assad's regime.
European allies to the US have been urged to take a tougher stance on Iran after Mr Trump withdrew from a nuclear deal with Tehran.
France and Germany have also condemned Iran's actions.
MOST READ IN WORLD NEWS
FIGHTING ON THE BEACHES
Brits fight with metal poles near terrified families on Barca beach
ARM OUR SHIPS
Nuclear submarine may be sent to the Gulf after Iran seized Brit oil tankers
Brit, 19, 'fainted as 12 Israelis raped her one-by-one for an hour' in Ayia Napa
PSYCHO FOR LOVE
I married my soulmate, then found he'd murdered his wife & I could be next
MAN'S BEST FRIEND
Dog walks 125 miles 'with tears in her eyes' to owner who rejected her
On Thursday, Mr Trump said a US warship shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz - something denied by Iranian military officials.
Last month, Mr Trump said he had made a last-minute decision to call off air strikes in retaliation for the shooting down by Iran of an unmanned US drone.
The crisis has followed Mr Trump's decision to withdraw the US from the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran signed with world powers.
First video of the British oil tanker Stena Impero that was seized by Iran
UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt says that if the situation with Iran is not resolved quickly there will be 'serious consequences'
President Donald Trump says he will 'speak to the UK' after Iran seized a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz
Iranian State TV claims Islamic Revolutionary Guards have seized a British oil tanker at the Strait of Homuz
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 782 4368. You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.
via The Sun https://ift.tt/2JSAycS