20/07/2019 13:50 BST | Updated 20/07/2019 14:47 BST

British Foreign Office Summons Iran Diplomat Over Oil Tanker Seizure, Reports

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said on Friday it has seized two oil tankers - one British-flagged and the other British owned.

PA Ready News UK
Stena Bulk said the UK-registered tanker was in international waters at the time but now appeared to be heading north towards Iran.

The Foreign Office has summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires following the seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, a source confirmed.

This comes as the government’s emergency committee, Cobra, called a meeting on Friday in Whitehall to discuss the seizure of two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. 

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said on Friday it has seized two oil tankers - one British-flagged and the other British owned.

Immediately after the news broke, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “I’m extremely concerned by the seizure of two vessels by Iranian authorities in the Strait of Hormuz.

“I will shortly attend a COBRA meeting to review what we know and what we can do to swiftly secure the release of the two vessels – a British-flagged vessel and a Liberian-flagged vessel

“Their crews comprise a range of nationalities, but we understand there are no British citizens on board either ship”.

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt described the incident – which she said happened in Omani waters – as a “hostile act”, according to Sky News.

And she said Montrose was 60 minutes away from being able to help.

The Stena Impero, which is registered in the UK, was seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in the Strait of Hormuz for “violating international maritime rules”, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

And a second oil tanker, the Liberia-flagged Mesdar, which is owned and operated by Glasgow-based firm Norbulk, appeared to veer off course towards the Iranian coast, according to its path on the Marine Traffic website.

“We are urgently seeking further information and assessing the situation following reports of an incident in the Gulf,” a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said in response to the incident.

Between one-fifth and one-sixth of the world’s oil moves through the strait – around 17 million barrels per day, as well as around a third of the world’s gas supply.

Oil and gas prices will be affected if tensions in the area continue, according to a leading authority on British shipping.