Reports of Iran seizing 2nd UK oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz
A second British-owned tanker may have been seized by Iranian forces in the Strait of Hormuz, in what appears to be retaliation for the British capture of an Iranian tanker in Gibraltar earlier this month.
The Liberian-flagged ship Mesdar abruptly changed course and headed for the Iranian mainland on Friday evening. The ship is owned by Norbulk Shipping UK and was bound for Ras Tanura in Saudi Arabia.
Confirmed VLCC tanker #Mesdar owned by “New Ocean Shipping Venture Ltd,” Glasgow, UK and operated by “Norbulk Shipping UK Ltd,” also headquartered in Glasgow https://t.co/ybRRMFymC8pic.twitter.com/oCFqFVLEBk— Strategy Matters (@MT_Strat) July 19, 2019
Tehran has not officially claimed the seizure of the Mesdar, unlike the earlier capture of the Stena Impero. Thattanker was bound for the Saudi port of Al Jubail, but was approached by IRGC vessels and redirected to the island of Qeshm, Iranian media said.
“We heard one, we heard two” of #Iran seizing oil tankers today, says @POTUS in reply to my question. But he declines to say if this crosses a line and how US will respond except to say there’s an agreement US has with #UK on maritime security. pic.twitter.com/Dwn5Ye82v2— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) July 19, 2019
There are 23 crew members aboard the Stena Impero. The number of crew on board the Mesdar is yet unknown.
Tehran and London have been at odds since July 4, when Royal Marines boarded and seized Iranian tanker Grace 1 off Gibraltar, accusing the ship of illegally transporting oil to Syria. Iranian authorities condemned the seizure as “piracy” and vowed to retaliate.
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