The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has seized the British oil tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz, Iranian media reported. UK authorities said the tanker had ‘veered off course’ before capture.
The Stena Impero was headed to Saudi Arabia but left the international sea lanes and headed north towards the Iranian island of Qeshm, marine tracking data showed on Friday.
Prior to the seizure, the tanker turned off its tracking device and had ignored warnings, Iranian military sources told state media.
“The reason behind the detention of the British tanker is that it did not adhere to the sea routes in the Strait of Hormuz, turned off the automatic identification system (AIS), polluted international waters and did not pay attention to the warnings of Iran,” the source said.
The 30,000-ton tanker is owned by Stena Bulk, and was bound for the Saudi port of Al Jubail.
Stena issued a statement that the ship was “approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz, while the vessel was in international waters.”
The company is “presently unable to contact the vessel which is now heading north towards Iran.” There are 23 crew members aboard.
UK authorities said they were “assessing the situation following reports of an incident in the Gulf.”