'Growing concern' for crew of seized British tanker

Iranian Revolutionary Guards near the Stena Impero

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The owners of a British tanker captured by Iranian forces are calling on the UK government to ensure the safe return of the vessel's 23-strong crew.

Tanker shipping company Stena Bulk and Northern Marine Management said there was "growing concern" for the welfare of the group, who were aboard the Stena Impero when it was seized on July 19 in the Strait of Hormuz.

Stena Bulk president and chief executive Erik Hanell has now urged the government to take action.

"With little progress being made since the vessel was seized on July 19, we urge governments involved to find a swift resolution so our 23 valued seafarers can return to their families and move on from this ordeal," he said.

"We reiterate that there is no evidence of a collision involving the Stena Impero, and at the time of the seizure the vessel was well within the inbound traffic separation scheme and out-with Iranian territorial waters.

"All required navigational equipment, including transponders, was fully functioning, in compliance with maritime regulations."

On July 22, pictures were also released by Iranian state media of the crew.

It appears to show cooks preparing meals, and the crew members being spoken to by an Iranian official onboard the tanker.

The detention of the Stena Impero follows the seizure of the Iranian-flagged Grace 1 tanker off the coast of Gibraltar on July 4.

Iran's revolutionary guard warned a British oil tanker could be seized in retaliation.

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