Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard announced Friday that it has seized a British owned oil tanker for allegedly "violating international regulations."
According to CNN, the tanker is called Steno Impero and owned by Stena Bulk and managed by Northern Marine Management. The company says there are 23 sailors are on board the ship and they are working closely with officials in the United Kingdom to monitor the situation and determine the best course of action.
Stena Impero released the following statement:
Stena Bulk and Northern Marine Management can confirm that at approximately 1600 BST on 19th July UK registered vessel Stena Impero (built 2018, 49,683 DWT) was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters. We are presently unable to contact the vessel which is now heading north towards Iran.
There are 23 seafarers aboard. There have been no reported injuries and their safety is of primary concern to both owners and managers. The priority of both vessel owner Stena Bulk and ship manager Northern Marine Management is the safety and welfare of the crew.
Northern Marine Management has not been able to establish contact directly with the vessel since it was notified of the incident at approximately 1600 Today, 19th July 2019.
We are in close contact with UK government authorities.
According to Middle East expert Charles Lister, a separate oil tanker called the "Mesdar" has also been intercepted by the Iranian government. Moments ago, the IRG confirmed they had taken a second tanker. Lister surmised this would force some sort of response if true.
The "Mesdar" *is* #UK-owned.— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) July 19, 2019
If it's confirmed the "Mesdar" has also been intercepted & taken in by the #IRGC, then we're in very dangerous territory.
That'd be x2 #British tankers seized by #Iran within hours of each other.
Hard not to see this forcing a response. pic.twitter.com/78jowZV1nU
The White House confirmed they are aware of the situation.
"We are aware of reports that Iranian forces seized a British oil tanker," national security counsel spokesman Garrett Marquis told CNN in a statement."This is the second time in just over a week the UK has been the target of escalatory violence by the Iranian regime...The U.S. will continue to work with our allies and partners to defend our security and interests against Iran’s malign behavior."
This is a breaking news story and will be updated accordingly.