UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (file photo)
UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (file photo)

UK warns Iran of 'robust' reaction after ship seized in Strait of Hormuz

ANI | Updated: Jul 20, 2019 18:03 IST

London [UK], July 20 (ANI): The United Kingdom on Saturday threatened Iran with a "considered but robust" reaction, just a day after a UK-flagged oil tanker 'Stena Impero' was seized by the Middle Eastern nation in the Strait of Hormuz.
"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," British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted.
"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," he added.
France and Germany have condemned Iran's seizure of the UK-flagged vessel, urging Tehran to release the vessel and de-escalate tensions in the region, according to CNN.
Tensions have been high between the two states after British Marines, along with the authorities in Gibraltar, detained an Iranian oil tanker -- 'Grace One' -- off the British Overseas Territory coast on July 4.
They believe that the oil tanker was on its way to Syria with gallons of oil, trying to circumvent EU sanctions -- a claim which has been rejected by Tehran who has called for the immediate release of its vessel.
Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif had recently held talks with Hunt via phone regarding the seizure of the Iranian ship, where the British leader had ensured UK's help to "facilitate release" of the oil tanker.
Tehran's move in the Strait of Hormuz came just hours after Gibraltar decided to extend the detention of Grace One for 30 days, according to CNN.
Tensions in the Strait could have dire consequences as 24 per cent of the global oil production passes through the passage and it is the only route to transport oil out of the Persian Gulf.
Two ships were seized by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Friday -- the UK-flagged Stena Impero and a Liberian-flagged MV Mesdar.
Iranian media reported that the British vessel was captured after an accident with a fishing boat, while the IRGC said that the vessel was held for "violating international regulations."
While the Liberian-flagged ship was let off by Iran, Stena Impero has been taken to Iran's Bandar Abbas Port. Even though the ship was registered in the UK, there were no Britons on board. The 23-man crew was made up of people with Indian, Russian, Latvian and Filipino nationality.
India is currently in touch with the government of Iran to secure the early release and repatriation of Indian nationals onboard the detained UK-flagged vessel. (ANI)