US News: Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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US NewsIran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz

02:05  20 july  2019
02:05  20 july  2019 Source:   marketwatch.com

UK ships in Strait of Hormuz put on 'heightened security'

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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Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

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

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.

Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz © 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' 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]

Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz
Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz

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

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).

Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz © 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]

Iran seizes British-flagged oil tanker — here’s what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz

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.

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