UK News: Theresa May to chair Cobra meeting after British-flagged oil tanker seizure - PressFrom - United Kingdom

UK NewsTheresa May to chair Cobra meeting after British-flagged oil tanker seizure

00:55  22 july  2019
00:55  22 july  2019 Source:

Iran seizes British oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz

Iran seizes British oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz Iran's Revolutionary Guards said on Friday they had captured a British-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf after Britain seized an Iranian vessel earlier this month, further raising tensions along a vital international oil shipping route. Britain said it was urgently seeking information about the Stena Impero after the tanker, which had been heading to a port in Saudi Arabia, suddenly changed course after passing through the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf. The Revolutionary Guards said they seized the tanker at the request of Iranian maritime authorities for "not following international maritime regulations", state television reported.

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Theresa May to chair Cobra meeting after British-flagged oil tanker seizure © Stefan Rousseau Prime Minister Theresa May (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Theresa May will chair a meeting of the Government’s emergency committee Cobra on Monday after Iran seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Persian Gulf.

The Prime Minister is expected to receive updates from ministers and officials on the situation and will discuss the maintenance of the security of shipping in the region.

Mrs May was not present at ministerial Cobra meetings over the weekend – which she spent in her Maidenhead constituency – but was kept informed of developments.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will update the Commons on the situation on Monday afternoon, amid reports that ministers are considering freezing Iranian regime assets.

Hunt ‘extremely concerned’ by seizure of two oil tankers in Persian Gulf

Hunt ‘extremely concerned’ by seizure of two oil tankers in Persian Gulf The Foreign Secretary confirmed that he will attend a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee on Friday night.

The seizing of a British - flagged tanker in Omani waters, empty and inbound to a Saudi port, marks a serious escalation in a whole catalogue of recent incidents in the Gulf. It comes on the back of the mysterious mining of tankers , the downing of both US and Iranian drones and the near capture of

Iran seized two oil tankers – one registered in the UK, the other in Liberia – in the strait of Hormuz on Friday, marking a dramatic escalation in A second tanker , the Mesdar, which is Liberian- flagged but British operated, also made a sudden diversion from its course towards the Saudi port of Ras Tanura

He is expected to tell MPs what further measures the Government will take.

It came as ministers denied reports that the UK had taken its “eye off the ball” because of domestic politics after the vessel was commandeered in Omani waters in the economically significant Strait of Hormuz.

Chancellor Philip Hammond insisted the Government had been “very much engaged with both the Americans and our European partners in the response to Iran’s increasing defiance of the JCPOA over the last few months”.

And Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood said the UK had vessels going through 100 nautical miles of waterway every day in the region, adding: “It is impossible simply to escort each individual vessel.”

He also called for more money to be invested in the Royal Navy if Britain wants to continue to play a role on the international stage.

Meanwhile, audio footage emerged between Iranian authorities and HMS Montrose moments before the Stena Impero was seized.

In the radio recording, the Iranian vessel can be heard saying: “If you obey, you will be safe. Alter your course immediately. I want to inspect the ship for security reasons.”

HMS Montrose replied: “You must not impair, impede, obstruct or hamper the passage of the Stena Impero. Please confirm that you are not intending to violate international law by attempting to board.”

Theresa May to chair Cobra meeting after British-flagged oil tanker seizure © Provided by The Press Association Map locates where British-flagged oil tanker seized by Iranians (PA Graphics)

Reports from Tehran state those on board the Stena Impero are safe and well.

Government ‘deeply concerned’ by seizure of oil tanker in Persian Gulf

Government ‘deeply concerned’ by seizure of oil tanker in Persian Gulf The Government has held an emergency Cobra meeting over the incident.

Iran releases footage of seized British - flagged oil tanker - video. The British government has summoned Tehran’s top diplomat in London and warned UK ships to temporarily avoid the strait of Hormuz after Iran seized a British - flagged tanker off its coast, deepening the crisis in the Gulf.

A second British -owned Liberian- flagged tanker , the MV Mesdar, was also boarded by armed guards but was released. Earlier, Mr Hunt, who attended the Cobra meeting , said the In response to the seizure , Iran threatened to seize a British oil tanker . On 9 July, the UK raised the threat to British

Iran has directly linked the seizure of the vessel with Britain’s role in detaining a tanker carrying Iranian oil earlier this month.

A spokesman for Iran’s Guardian Council was quoted as saying “the rule of reciprocal action is well known in international law” and that Tehran made the right decision in the face of an “illegitimate economic war and seizure of oil tankers”.

The explanation, which contrasts with a suggestion on Friday night that the Stena Impero was “violating international maritime rules” and had collided with a fishing boat, came as the UK Government warned British ships to stay away from the Strait of Hormuz.

Theresa May to chair Cobra meeting after British-flagged oil tanker seizure © Provided by The Press Association A speedboat from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard moves around the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero (Hasan Shirvani/Mizan News Agency via AP)

HMS Montrose, which is patrolling the Persian Gulf to protect shipping, and earlier this month intercepted Iranian patrol boats surrounding another UK-flagged tanker, reportedly arrived minutes too late to prevent the latest incident.

A second oil tanker, the Liberian-flagged Mesdar, which is managed by Norbulk Shipping UK, veered off course towards the Iranian coast after it was boarded by armed guards at about 5.30pm on Friday.

Communication with the ship was later re-established and the crew were unharmed. The tanker was reportedly allowed to resume navigation.

France and Germany joined condemnation of Iran’s actions, which have triggered concerns that it will lead to further oil price hikes amid heightened tensions in the Gulf involving Iran, the US and UK.

Britain blasts Iran seizure of tanker as act of 'state piracy'.
Britain will seek to put together a European-led maritime protection mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz after Iran seized a British-flagged vessel in what London said was an act of "state piracy". Iran's Revolutionary Guards seized the Stena Impero in the Strait on Friday. British Royal Marines seized an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar two weeks ago. "Under international law Iran had no right to obstruct the ship's passage - let alone board her. It was therefore an act of state piracy," Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told parliament.

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