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Iran tanker seizure: 'Growing concern' for crew of British-flagged vessel

Iran tanker seizure: 'Growing concern' for crew of British-flagged vessel
31 July 2019

There is "growing concern" for the crew of a British-flagged tanker seized by Iran in the Gulf, its owners say.

The 23 crew members are confined to the vessel, which is moored off the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, Stena Bulk and Northern Marine Management said.

The vessel seizure came amid heightened tensions between Iran and the UK.

Tehran said Stena Impero was "violating international maritime rules" at the time but the UK called the incident an example of "state piracy".

Erik Hanell, president and chief executive of Stena Bulk, urged the UK and Iranian governments to "find a swift resolution so our 23 valued seafarers can return to their families and move on from this ordeal".

"We reiterate that there is no evidence of a collision involving the Stena Impero, and at the time of the seizure the vessel was well within the inbound traffic separation scheme and out-with Iranian territorial waters," he said.

"All required navigational equipment, including transponders, was fully functioning, in compliance with maritime regulations."

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Tehran says its Revolutionary Guard detained the Stena Impero on 19 July in the key shipping route of the Strait of Hormuz after it collided with a fishing boat.

Last week Stena Bulk said the crew members - who are Indian, Russian, Latvian and Filipino - were safe after speaking to them for the first time.

After the tanker was seized, the Iranian embassy in India told the Reuters news agency that the crew, including 18 Indian nationals, were in "good health".