Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said Friday they had seized a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz for breaking international maritime rules.
The Stena Impero tanker “was confiscated… for failing to respect international maritime rules,” the Guards’ official website Sepahnews said.
The tanker “was led to the shore and handed over to the organization to go through the legal procedure and required investigations,” it said.
Tanker tracking service Marine Traffic showed that the Swedish-owned Stena Impero last signaled its location near the Island of Larak in the highly sensitive waterway at 9:00 PM local time (1630 GMT).
Mehr news agency quoted an unnamed Iranian maritime official said the ship had breached international maritime regulations by passing through a prohibited maritime passage in the Strait, turning off its tracking signals and ignoring warnings issued by Iranian authorities.
The vessel’s numerous infringements counted as a violation of the “innocent passage,” referring to a maritime law related to the passage of vessels through the territorial waters of another state.
“The tanker had turned off its tracker and ignored several warnings by the IRGC before being impounded,” the source said.
For its part, the Northern Marine Management, which owns the Stena Impero, has said the vessel carried 23 crew members.
The ship was transiting the Strait of Hormuz and in “international waters” when it was “attacked by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter,” the owner claimed.
“We are presently unable to contact the vessel which is now tracking as heading north towards Iran,” a statement said.