Theresa May holds emergency meeting on seized tanker

Updated: Jul 23, 2019, 12:36 IST | Agencies

British security ministers and officials discussed how to secure shipping in the sensitive Strait of Hormuz which is vital to the world's oil supply

Theresa May holds emergency meeting on seized tanker
This photo released by state-run IRIB News Agency, which aired on Monday, shows various crew members of the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero, that was seized by Tehran. Pic/AP

London: British Prime Minister Theresa May chaired an emergency security session on Monday to discuss how to respond to Iran's seizure of a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

The meeting of security ministers and officials discussed how to secure shipping in the sensitive region, which is vital to the world's oil supply.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt plans to brief Parliament on the Friday seizure of the Stena Impero tanker and its crew of 23, now in a heavily guarded Iranian port. On Monday, Iran released new video showing the ship's crew for the first time, an apparent attempt to show they were unharmed.

The 23 crew are mostly Indian and also Filipino, Russian and Latvian nationals. May's official spokesman, James Slack, said Iran has seized the ship under false and illegal pretenses and it needs to release it and its crew immediately.

'It's illegal'
A top British representative to the United Nations has declared in a letter to the Security Council that Iran's seizure of the tanker amounted to "illegal interference," and rejected Tehran's version of events.

British charge d'affaires Jonathan Allen, in the letter to Security Council president Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, said British officials "do not seek confrontation with Iran. But it is unacceptable and highly escalatory to threaten shipping going about its legitimate business through internationally recognised transit corridors."

He called on Iran to release the tanker while diplomatic efforts to resolve the situation continue.

No. of Indians on board the ship

Seizure was legal measure: Iran

"Seizing the British tanker was a legal measure by Iran. Iran confronted the ship (to ensure) the region's security," said Ali Rabiei, spokesman for the Islamic republic's government.

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