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article imageUK warship Montrose warned Iranian boat about seizing tanker

By Ken Hanly     Jul 21, 2019 in World
The UK warship Montrose warned a Sepah navy boat, part of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, against seizing the tanker Stena Impero saying that to do so would be against International law.
The Iranian boat had ordered the Sterna Impero to alter course. The Iranian boat responded to the Montrose claiming that it was taking action for security reasons and that no challenge was intended. Iran has claimed the tanker had rammed a fishing boat. The UK insists there is no evidence supporting that claim.
The Sterna Impero has a crew of 23 and was seized on Friday. The crew are from India, Latvia, the Philippines, and Russia. Both the Philippines and India say they are negotiating to secure the release of their citizens.
A recent tweet claimed the Montrose was within firing range of the Iranian ship: "The #UK Royal Navy's position during the #IRGC #Iran capturing "Stena Impero" in the Gulf of Oman. They were within fire range and intervention position but commanders had a clear Rule of Engagement orders from #London." Later reports give a different story claiming the nearest vessel was an hour away: "Britain has admitted its nearest warship was one hour away from the merchant vessel seized by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday and could do nothing to help."
UK reaction to the seizure
UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt reacted to the Iranian seizure of tanker: "Speaking to reporters later Saturday after an emergency government meeting, Hunt said the "totally and utterly unacceptable" interception of the British-flagged Stena Impero "raises very serious questions about the security of British shipping and indeed international shipping" in the Strait of Hormuz." He also said the UK response would be considered but robust.
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