LONDON/DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Friday they had captured a British-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf after Britain seized an Iranian vessel this month, ratcheting up tension 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.
Tanker - British-operated - Mesdar - Change - Direction
A second tanker, the British-operated Mesdar, also made a sharp change of direction in the Gulf around the same time.
Britain’s foreign minister said a second vessel had been seized and described the capture of both tankers as unacceptable. Iran’s Guards made no mention of another ship.
Relations - Iran - West - Forces - Tanker
Relations between Iran and the West have become increasingly tense since British naval forces seized an Iranian tanker in Gibraltar on July 4 on suspicion of smuggling oil to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions.
U.S. President Donald Trump said he would talk to Britain about the tanker seizure, after a war of words earlier in the day over whether the United States had shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz.
Oil - Prices - Friday - Trading - Barrel
Oil prices gained on Friday, trading above $62 a barrel, after the latest spike in tensions along a waterway through which a fifth of the world’s crude supplies pass.
The 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.
Northern - Marine - Management - Stena - Impero
Northern Marine Management said the Stena Impero was heading north towards Iran. Northern Marine Group is owned by Stena AB.
Refinitiv tracking data showed the British-operated and Liberian-flagged Mesdar also changed course sharply after entering the Gulf and started heading towards the Iranian coast, about 40...
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