NEW DELHI/LONDON: Eighteen Indians were among 23 people on board a British oil tanker Stena Impero seized by Iran, and India said it is in touch with Tehran to secure the early release and repatriation of its nationals.Iran’s official news agency IRNA said the British-flagged oil tanker was seized allegedly due to a collision with an Iranian fishing boat and for “violating” international maritime rules.“Our mission is in touch with the Government of Iran to secure the early release and repatriation of Indian nationals,” said External Affairs Ministry (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.
Stena Bulk, a Swedish company which owns the vessel, said they have been unable to contact the ship, which was seized in the Strait of Hormuz, a key waterway in the region. Erik Hanell, President and Chief Executive, Stena Bulk, said, “There have been no reported injuries and the safety and welfare of our crew remains is our primary focus.”
“Soon after the vessel was approached by unidentified small naval craft and a helicopter during her transit of the Strait of Hormuz in international waters...the vessel suddenly deviated from her passage to Jubail and headed north towards Iran,” the company said in statement.US President Donald Trump said he would hold talks with Britain about the tanker’s seizure by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. “And this only goes to show what I’m saying about Iran: trouble. Nothing but trouble,” he told reporters at the White House.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Tehran’s seizure of the tanker showed “worrying signs Iran may be choosing a dangerous path of illegal and destabilising behaviour”.
In July, British marines and Gibraltar police seized an Iranian tanker off the coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Gibraltar claimed it was transporting crude oil to Syria