The British owner of a second tanker reportedly seized by Iranian authorities in the Gulf on Friday said the ship had been temporarily boarded by armed personnel but was now free to leave.
“Communication has been re-established with the vessel and (the captain) confirmed that the armed guards have left and the vessel is free to continue the voyage. All crew are safe and well,” Norbulk Shipping UK said in a statement about the ship, the Mesdar.
The company said the Liberian-registered vessel was boarded by armed personnel at around 1630 GMT.
|The British-operated, Liberian-flagged oil tanker Mesdar|
It did not give any more details about the personnel but said the ship began heading north towards Iran.
The company said that by 2000 GMT the armed personnel had left and the ship was free to continue on its voyage. According to the website Marine Traffic, the ship was on its way from China to Saudi Arabia.So the ship was free to continue on it's way after 3-1/2 hours or 210 minutes
|“I’m extremely concerned by the seizure of two vessels by Iranian authorities in the Strait of Hormuz,” Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said|
Britain claims two ships seized: Iran says one.
Britain says Iran seizes two oil tankers in Gulf, Iran says captured one
"Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency said the second vessel, the British-operated Mesdar, had not been seized. (As reported in opening news article) It said the ship had been allowed to continue its course after being given a warning over safety and environmental issues.
The Stena Impero and Mesdar changed direction sharply within 40 minutes of each other shortly after entering the Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz, taking up a course towards Iran, Refinitiv tracking data showed.
The data later showed Mesdar changing direction again, heading westward back into the Gulf.
Iran’s Guards, an elite force under the command of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said they seized the Stena Impero at the request of Iranian authorities for “not following international maritime regulations,” state television reported.Why was the Stena Impero heading towards Iran? I'm getting a real provocation vibe from this news...
Northern Marine Management, which is owned by Stena AB, confirmed the Stena Impero was heading towards Iran."
"Norbulk, the manager of the tanker Mesdar, said the vessel had been boarded by armed personnel but was later allowed to continue its voyage. It said the crew were safe and well."
Reads to me like one ship, acting provocatively, may have been seized.
"Refinitiv data showed the Stena Impero vessel is owned by Stena Bulk and indicated its destination had been the Saudi port of Jubail on the Gulf. The tracking map showed it veering off course about 1517 GMT and heading toward Iran.
The Mesdar made its shift toward Iran at about 1600 GMT.
“We received reports that the British Stena Impero oil tanker was causing incidents and, therefore, we asked the military to direct it to Bandar Abbas port for the necessary probes,” Allahmorad Afifipour, head of Hormozgan’s maritime authority, told Tasnim news agency"