Iran has released a short video of what it says is the crew of the Stena Impero, the British-flagged tanker that was seized by Iranian forces in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday. The footage was posted Monday on the website of Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency. In what appear to be staged shots, it shows several crew members in various locations around the tanker. Iran has released a video of what it said was the crew of the UK-flagged tanker Stena Impero.
While the vessel was sailing under a UK flag, Stena Bulk is headquartered in Sweden, and the 23 seafarers on board hail from India, Latvia, Philippines and Russia. The family of Dijo Pappachan, one of the Indian nationals on board, told CNN they have not had any contact with him since Friday. Read More Pappachan’s cousin, Joseph Vincent, said Pappachan called his family on Friday and spoke to his mother for about one hour. On Saturday morning, Stena Bulk’s head office in Mumbai informed the family that he was on the captured ship.
The UK was a party to the 2015 agreement that curbed Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. The British government has made attempts to save the deal alongside France and Germany, the two other European signatories. The tanker was seized by Iran on Friday. Following the meeting, the UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt called the incident an act «of state piracy» and said the UK would take part in a Europe-led maritime protection mission in the Strait of Hormuz.
The seizure of the Stena Impero came just hours after authorities in Gibraltar agreed to extend the detention of an Iranian oil tanker in its custody for 30 days. That ship, the Grace 1, was seized by British authorities on July 4. It was accused of attempting to transport oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions. The video shows the crew in what appears to be staged shots on board the tanker.
«The Iranians likely see the seizure of the Stena Impero as payback,» said Naysan Rafati, Iran analyst at the Crisis Group in Washington. The tensions are also impacting oil prices, because the Strait of Hormuz plays a crucial role in the global oil shipping industry. The channel, which is just 21 miles wide at its narrowest point, is the only way to move oil from the Persian Gulf to the world’s oceans. «That’s why we’re seeing calls to steps up maritime patrols and protect the hundreds of vessels that transit each month,» Rafati said.
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