UK ships in Strait of Hormuz put on 'heightened security'
The Department for Transport has issued new guidance to all British-flagged ships to go to a heightened state of security in the Strait of Hormuz, Sky News understands. © Other HMS Montrose deployed its helicopter when it was confronted The guidance was issued in recent days in response to concern about an increased threat from Iran in the Gulf, two maritime industry sources said. British-flagged ships have been advised to keep alert for Iranian patrol boats "being aggressive towards them", one of the sources said.
UK government urgently seeking information after Stena Impero veered into Iranian waters.
A British - flagged oil tanker has been seized in the Gulf by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Iran media say. The owners of the Stena Impero, which was The company says there are 23 personnel on board and it was approached by "unidentified small crafts and a helicopter" in the Strait of Hormuz .
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A narrow waterway in the Middle East that marks the most sensitive transportation choke point for global oil supplies remained in focus Friday after Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard said it seized a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, and another vessel lost contact with its owners and was reported to have abruptly changed course for Iran.
The action was the latest in a series of incidents in the region that have seen tensions rise between the U.S. and Iran following the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from a 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on Tehran. It also marks rising tensions between Iran and the U.K. after British authorities detained an Iranian oil tanker accused of breaching sanctions on Syria.
UK says Iran tanker will be freed after guarantees on destination
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt sought to ease tensions with Iran on Saturday, saying a tanker held by Gibraltar would be released if Tehran guaranteed it was not heading to Syria. He said he had a "constructive call" with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, who he said assured him that Tehran "is not seeking to escalate" tensions between the countries. "I reassured him our concern was destination not origin of the oil on Grace One," a tanker seized off the coast of the tiny British territory of Gibraltar on July 4, Hunt tweeted.
Iran ’ s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced in the late hours of July 19 that its naval units had captured a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz . The Guards said in a press release that the tanker , Stena Impero, was seized for breaching international maritime law while crossing the
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
And it comes a day after President Donald Trump said a U.S. Navy ship destroyed an Iranian drone in the strait — an incident Iran has denied occurred.
The risk of a U.S.-Iran military conflict has been seen on the rise since spring. Last month, Iran shot down a U.S.-operated drone near the strait. Trump weighed retaliation but said he called off a strike at the last minute due to worries the fatalities wouldn’t be proportional to the loss of an unmanned aircraft. © ASSOCIATED PRESS Ships in Strait of Hormuz
Oil prices rose Friday following reports of the tanker seizure, but suffered steep weekly declines on signs of growing supplies and worries about the global demand outlook. Crude was also pressured earlier this week as U.S. and Iranian officials signaled scope for new negotiations, though the seizure of the tanker and the drone incident subsequently served to undercut those expectations.
Iran 'may have seized' oil tanker that went off radar at weekend
Iran may have seized a small oil tanker travelling through the Strait of Hormuz after its tracker stopped transmitting its location, a US official has said. © Reuters An oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz: File pic The Panama-flagged Riah was in Iranian territorial waters near Qeshm Island, which is home to a Revolutionary Guard base, the defence official told the Associated Press (AP) news agency. © Sky News Screen Grab The tanker was travelling through the Strait of Hormuz "We certainly have suspicions that it was taken," the official said.
Iranian media said the tanker was seized Sunday — around the same time a UAE-based vessel The tanker was detained Sunday, the report said, near Iran ’ s Larak Island in the Strait of Hormuz , the © Fay Abuelgasim/AP The Panama- flagged , Japanese owned oil tanker Kokuka Courageous
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard-affiliated news agency said the tanker was seized for breaking three regulations: shutting down its GPS; going through the exit of the Strait of Hormuz rather than the entrance; and ignoring warnings. Stena Bulk, the vessel owner, and Clydebank-based ship manager
West Texas Intermediate crude (CLQ19) the U.S. benchmark, ended 33 cents higher Friday at $55.63 a barrel, a 0.6% rise. Brent crude (UK:BRNU19) , its global counterpart, rose ,
Here’s a look at the Strait of Hormuz and why it’s a key concern for oil traders:
Where is the Strait of Hormuz?
The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow waterway that links the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.
In Pictures: Iran / US tensions [Microsoft GES]
Undated handout photo issued by Stena Bulk of the British oil tanker Stena Impero which is believed to have been captured in Iranian waters whilst en route to Saudi Arabia. Owner Stena Bulk has confirmed that the tanker was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter whilst in international waters in the Strait of Hormuz and they are unable to contact the vessel which is now heading north towards Iran.
Iran sentences 'CIA spies' to death after 'breaking ring'
Iran says it has broken up a CIA spying ring and sentenced some of the 17 suspects to death. Reports on state television quoted the Intelligence Ministry, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. This latest development follows weeks of tension between Iran and the US. On Saturday, Iran released a video which it said disproved President Donald Trump's claim that a US warship destroyed an Iranian drone. The American president said the USS Boxer took "defensive action" on Thursday after the drone ignored repeated warnings and came within 1,000 yards of the ship in the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran says that its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy has seized a foreign- flagged oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, alleging that the ship was smuggling 1 The vessel was seized south of Larak Island in the Strait of Hormuz , according to the state-run IRNA news agency. The island sits less than 20
Mystery surrounds the apparent seizure by Iran of a small tanker in the Persian Gulf, after Revolutionary Guards claimed it had towed a foreign oil tanker for Iranian soldiers take part in the "National Persian Gulf day" in the Strait of Hormuz . Read our community guidelines in full here .
The route taken by the British oil tanker Stena Impero which is believed to have been captured in Iranian waters while en route to Saudi Arabia.
US Marine Corps General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. (C-L), commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), and Lieutenant General Fahd bin Turki bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (C), commander of the Saudi-led coalition forces in Yemen, are shown by coalition spokesman Colonel Turki bin Saleh al-Malki (C-R). McKenzie pledged on July 18 to work "aggressively" to ensure maritime safety in strategic Gulf waters after a spate of attacks blamed on Iran.
An MV-22 Osprey aircraft takes off on the deck of the USS Boxer (LHD-4) in the Arabian Sea off Oman, on July 17.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif speaks as he attends a high-level political forum on sustainable development on July 17, at the UN Headquarters in New York.
This undated photo provided by Iranian state television's English-language service, Press TV, shows the Panamanian-flagged oil tanker MT Riah surrounded by Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels.
An MV-22 Osprey aircraft lands on the deck of USS Abraham Lincoln the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz, on July 15.
Radar is seen on the monitoring tower of USS Boxer (LHD-4) in the Arabian Sea off Oman, on July 16.
U.S. Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA) speaks in favor of inclusion of House Amendment #270 to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), aimed at preventing war with Iran, at the Capitol in Washington, DC, on July 10.
A warship belonging to the British Navy, allegedly sent to the Strait of Hormuz, is seen passing through the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey, on July 12.
Supertanker Grace 1 off the coast of Gibraltar on July 6. Iran demanded on July 5 that Britain immediately release the tanker it had detained, accusing it of acting at the bidding of the United States. Authorities in Gibraltar, a British overseas territory on Spain's southern tip at the western entrance to the Mediterranean, said they suspected the tanker was carrying crude oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions.
British soldiers are seen during an operation involving the oil supertanker Grace 1.
Oil supertanker Grace 1 is seen in waters of the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, historically claimed by Spain, on July 4.
(L to R) Iran's Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi, government spokesman Ali Rabiei, and Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi give a joint press conference at the presidential headquarters in Tehran on July 7. Iran said it would begin enriching uranium beyond a 3.67 percent cap set by a landmark nuclear deal "in a few hours", the Islamic republic's atomic energy organisation spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said on July 7.
Satellites find oil tankers seized by Iran
The pawns in modern-day geopolitics carry thousands of barrels of oil.
According to the British Foreign Secretary, Iran has allegedly seized two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz . Earlier on Friday, Iranian media reported the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) had seized the British oil tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz because it violated
The Panama- flagged Riah, an oil tanker based in the United Arab Emirates, disappeared in Iranian Iran ’ s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, said the tanker was approached by Iranian Britain said last week that Iranian forces attempted to block a British oil tanker traversing the strait
A British Royal Navy ship (L) patrols near supertanker Grace 1 suspected of carrying crude oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions after it was detained off the coast of Gibraltar on July 4. Iran demanded on July 5, that Britain immediately release the tanker, accusing it of acting at the bidding of the United States.
Aircraft maneuver into position for an Independence Day air power demonstration on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Arabian Sea on July 4. The USS Abraham Lincoln was rushed to the Mideast amid tensions between the U.S. and Iran as its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers unravels.
Acting U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Jonathan Cohen addresses the U.N. Security Council briefing on implementation of the resolution that endorsed the Iran nuclear deal at the United Nations headquarters in New York, June 26.
Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Majid Takht Ravanchi delivers a speech during the U.N. Security Council on implementation of the resolution that endorsed the Iran nuclear deal at the United Nations headquarters on June 26.
U.S. Air Force aircraft taxi to take-off from Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia on June 25.
A U.S. Air Force (USAF) pilot from the 4th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron enters the cockpit of an F-35A Lightning II before Exercise Tri-Lightning, at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, June 25.
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani speaks during the cabinet meeting in Tehran, on June 26. Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, said in a tweet that the newly announced sanctions meant that the channel of diplomacy has been closed forever.
A handout photo made available by the supreme leader office shows Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaking during a meeting with Iranian judiciary officials in Tehran, on June 26. According to reports, Khamenei said his country will 'never retreat' in the face of US sanctions, two days after US President Donald Trump signed an executive order for additional sanctions against Iran and its leadership.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks in a meeting with the Health Ministry officials, in Tehran, Iran on June 25. Iran on Tuesday sharply criticized new U.S. sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic's supreme leader and other top officials.
President Donald Trump displays an executive order imposing fresh sanctions on Iran in the Oval Office of the White House, on June 24.
US National Security Advisor John Bolton (R) speaks next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Nikolai Patrushev (C), Russian Secretary of the Security Council, during a press conference of the trilateral meeting of the US, Russian and Israeli national security advisers in Jerusalem, Israel on June 25. The meeting is a first-ever trilateral summit between the Russian, Israeli and American national security advisers with Nikolai Patrushev Russian Secretary of the Security Council, Meir Ben Shabbat, Israeli Security adviser and John Bolton, US National Security Advisor. the trilateral summit talks focuses on Iran, Syria and regional issues.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) meets with Mohamed ben Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in Abu Dhabi, UAE on June 24. The United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have jointly called for "diplomatic solutions" to ease soaring tensions with Iran.
Iran's ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi holds up a picture as he addresses the media at the Security Council stakeout area before the start of the UN Security Council meeting on the situation in Iran at United Nations Headquarters in New York, on June 24.
Seated under a portrait of the Saudi monarch, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) meets with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at Al Salam Palace in the Red Sea port of Jeddah on June 24. - Pompeo arrived Monday in Saudi Arabia for talks on coordinating with the close ally amid mounting tensions with Iran.
Iranian Judiciary chief Ebrahim Rais (C) attends a meeting with foreign ambassadors in Iran in the Islamic republic's capital Tehran on June 24. - Iran denied the same day it was hit by a US cyber attack as Washington was due to tighten sanctions on Tehran in a standoff sparked by the US withdrawal from a nuclear deal.
President Donald Trump walks off Marine One at the White House after spending the weekend at Camp David on June 23, in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump warned the United States may launch a devastating military attack on Iran unless it comes to the negotiating table and drops its bid to develop nuclear weapons.
Protesters gather in front of the White House to speak out against a possible war with Iran on June 23, in Washington, DC. U.S. President Donald Trump said he almost launched a retaliatory strike after it was alleged that Iran shot down an unmanned U.S. drone last week, in a tweet he said he called off the attack after learning the number of potential casualties.
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on June 20 in Washington. Trump declared that "Iran made a very big mistake" in shooting down a U.S. drone but suggested it was an accident rather than a strategic error.
Crew of seized British-flagged tanker allowed to talk to families
The owner of the British-flagged tanker seized by Iran has said the crew members are safe and well, and have been allowed to talk to their families. The Stena Impero tanker was seized last Friday by Iranian forces as it was passing through Omani waters in the Strait of Hormuz. In a statement, the CEO of Stena Bulk, Erik Hanell, said: "Contact continues between the crew of the Stena Impero and the company, and all those on board are reported to be safe and well under the circumstances.
Oil tankers pass through the strait of Hormuz . US officials suspect that a Panamanian- flagged oil tanker that stopped transmitting its location after straying into Iranian waters may have been hijacked by Iran ’ s “An international oil tanker was in trouble due to a technical fault in the Persian Gulf.
Iran offered no immediate comment on what happened to the Panamanian- flagged oil tanker Riah late Saturday night, though an Emirati official acknowledged The concern about the Riah comes as Iran continues its own high-pressure campaign over its nuclear program after President Donald Trump
A series of tweets written by President Donald Trump regarding a retaliatory attack on Iran are displayed on a computer screen in New York, on June 21.
General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, Iran's Head of the Revolutionary Guard's aerospace division, speaks to media next to debris from a downed US drone reportedly recovered within Iran's territorial waters and put on display by the Revolutionary Guard in the capital Tehran on June 21.
Protesters hold signs spelling out, "No War," outside the White House, on June 20 in Washington, after President Trump tweeted that "Iran made a very big mistake" by shooting down a US surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz in Iran.
This map provided by the Department of Defense shows the site where they say a U.S. Navy RQ-4 drone was shot down. The Department of Defense says the drone was flying over the Gulf of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz on a surveillance mission in international airspace in the vicinity of recent IRGC maritime attacks when it was shot down by an IRGC surface to air missile fired from a launch site in the vicinity of Goruk, Iran.
A still image from surveillance video provided by the U.S. military shows what they say is a drone being shot down over the Strait of Hormuz on June 20.
U.S. Air Force maintainers prepare a military drone RQ-4A Global Hawk for takeoff at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. Picture taken on Dec. 2, 2010.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is seen near a "3 Khordad" system which was allegedly been used to shoot down a U.S. military drone, according to news agency Fars, in this undated handout picture.
Journalists take pictures of a magnet the U.S. Navy says came from a limpet mine that didn't explode on a Japanese-owned oil tanker at a 5th Fleet base, during a trip organized by the Navy for journalists, near Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, on June 19.
A picture taken during a guided tour by the US Navy (NAVCENT) shows the Japanese oil tanker Kokuka Courageous off the port of the Gulf emirate of Fujairah on June 19.
This image released by the U.S. Department of Defense on June 17, and taken from a U.S. Navy helicopter, shows what the Navy says are members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy removing an unexploded limpet mine from the M/T Kokuka Courageous.
Crew members of the Kokuka Courageous oil tanker receive medical attention from military personnel aboard missile destroyer USS Bainbridge, at sea, June 13.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks from the State Department briefing room on June 13, in Washington, DC. Pompeo said, "It is the assessment of the U.S. government that Iran is responsible for today's attacks in the Gulf of Oman. These attacks are a threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation, and an unacceptable escalation of tension by Iran."
This picture, obtained by AFP from Iranian News Agency ISNA on June 13, reportedly shows fire and smoke billowing from a tanker said to have been attacked in the waters of the Gulf of Oman.
U.S. and U.K. divide increases on Iran
Britain's refusal to go along with the Trump administration's fiery approach to recent Iranian aggression has experts and lawmakers concerned about the state of the "special relationship" between two historically close allies. The United Kingdom on Monday shunned the United States' call for a multi-nation effort to protect non-Iranian ships in the Persian Gulf, despite the fact that the country had its own oil tanker seized in the region.
Iran ' s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, says it seized an unnamed foreign tanker in the Strait of Hormuz last weekend for allegedly being involved in an operation to smuggle fuel oil out of the country.
Iranian boats tried to impede a British oil tanker near the Gulf - before being driven off by a Royal In the case of the Strait of Hormuz , shipping is channelled through two lanes heading in opposite What we know about British Heritage. It is understood British Heritage was not carrying cargo at the time
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, during a welcoming ceremony at the Saadabad Palace in the capital Tehran on June 12. Abe arrived in Tehran on June 12 for a rare diplomatic mission, hoping to defuse tensions between the Islamic republic and Tokyo's ally Washington.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a media briefing at the State Department June 10, in Washington, D.C. Secretary Pompeo discussed topics including the latest development on tension with Iran.
This undated photograph from the United Arab Emirates' Mission to the United Nations released Thursday, June 6, shows a diver investigating the damage done to the Saudi-owned oil tanker Al Marzoqah off the coast of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. A joint statement released Thursday by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Norway said the damage done to the four oil tankers off the UAE likely came from limpet mines placed by a "state actor" amid U.S. and Saudi allegations Iran carried out the sabotage. Iran has denied being involved amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington.
The USS Abraham Lincoln carrier and a U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress, conduct joint exercises in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility in Arabian sea on June 1.
President Trump talks to journalists as he departs the White House for a campaign rally in Pennsylvania on May 20 in Washington, DC. On his way to Montoursville, Pennsylvania, Trump said that Iran does not currently pose a direct threat to the United States.
At its narrowest point, the waterway is only 21 miles wide, and the width of the shipping lane in either direction is just 2 miles, separated by a two-mile buffer zone.
Second warship arrives in Gulf to protect British ships after tanker seized
HMS Duncan has joined HMS Montrose to help British-flagged ships.
The Iranians did not initially identify the ship or its owners, but semi-official news agencies suggested the ship was the Panamanian- flagged MT Riah, a ship that went missing on 14 July and appeared to have been taken into Iranian waters in the strait of Hormuz . Nothing has been heard of the ship
Why is it important?
Oil tankers carrying crude from ports on the Persian Gulf must pass through the strait. Around 21 million barrels of oil a day flowed through it in 2018, equivalent to roughly a third of global seaborne oil trade and about 21% of global petroleum liquids consumption, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said last month.
Can the strait be bypassed?
Not easily. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates operate the only pipelines capable of shipping crude outside the Persian Gulf and the additional pipeline capacity to circumvent the strait, the EIA said. At the end of 2018, the total available crude-oil pipeline capacity for both countries combined was estimated at 6.5 million barrels a day. With 2.7 million barrels a day moving through the pipelines that year, around 3.8 million barrels a day of unused capacity would have been available to bypass the strait, the EIA said (see table below). © Energy Information Administration
Could Iran close the strait?
The presence of the U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet has long cast doubt on Iran’s ability to close the waterway, analysts said. In addition, the U.S. in May announced it was sending an aircraft carrier group, bombers and a Patriot antimissile battery to counter what the Trump administration said were “clear indications” that Iran and its proxies were preparing to possibly attack U.S. forces in the region.
In Pictures: Inside the Iran enigma [USA Today]
The U.S. military presence would make it extremely difficult for Iran to choke off traffic, but the country “has the strategic depth to stage one-off attacks on vessels, not just in the critical chokepoints but also in the region’s relatively open waters,” said Helima Croft, global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets said, in a May research note.
Indeed, Friday’s action appeared to underscore Iran’s ability to disrupt traffic through the region.
Second warship arrives in Gulf to protect British ships after tanker seized.
HMS Duncan has joined HMS Montrose to help British-flagged ships.