Crew of Stena Impero, reportedly safe (UPDATED)

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UPDATE: Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz “constitutes illegal interference”, the UK has said in a letter to the United Nations Security Council.

EARLIER: The crew of the British-flagged Stena Impero tanker seized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are all safe, the head of the Ports and Maritime Organisation of Iran in Hormozgan Province told state TV on Sunday.

“All 23 crew members aboard the ship are safe and in good health in Bandar Abbas port,” Allahmorad Afifipour said.

Britain has denounced Iran’s seizure of the oil tanker in the Gulf on Friday as a “hostile act”, rejecting Tehran’s explanation that it had seized the vessel because it had been involved in an accident.

Meanwhile an  audio recording has emerged of the radio exchanges between a Royal Navy frigate and Iranian armed forces vessels prior to the seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker in the Persian Gulf. Crew on board frigate HMS Montrose were told by the Iranian ship that they wanted to inspect the tanker for security reasons.

In the radio recording, obtained by the British maritime security firm Dryad Global, the Iranian vessel can heard be heard telling a ship – thought to be the Stena Impero – to change its course, saying: “If you obey you will be safe.”

HMS Montrose identifies itself and tells the Stena Impero: “As you are conducting transit passage in a recognised international strait, under international law your passage must not be impaired, impeded, obstructed or hampered.”

Via Evening Standard / Reuters

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