Stena Bulk is believed to have been captured by Iran.File/ Reuters
Iran's Revolutionary Guards said on Friday they had captured a British-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf after Britain seized an Iranian vessel earlier this month, further raising tensions along a vital international oil shipping route.
Britain said it was urgently seeking information about the Stena Impero after the tanker, which had been heading to a port in Saudi Arabia, suddenly changed course after passing through the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf.
The Revolutionary Guards said they seized the tanker at the request of Iranian maritime authorities for "not following international maritime regulations," state television reported.
Relations between Iran and the West have been increasingly strained since British naval forces seized an Iranian tanker in Gibraltar on July 4 on suspicion of smuggling oil to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions.
Iran said it would retaliate and days later three Iranian vessels tried to block a British-owned tanker passing through the Strait of Hormuz. But on that occasion, the Iranian vessels backed off when confronted by a British Royal Navy warship.
"We are urgently seeking further information and assessing the situation following reports of an incident in the Gulf," a spokesman for Britain's Ministry of Defence said on Friday.
A person familiar with the matter said a meeting of the British government's emergency committee was being held.
Prime Minister Theresa May's office declined to comment.
Britain says these seizures of UK vessels are unacceptable.
US President Donald Trump said on Friday he would talk to the United Kingdom after Iran seized a British-flagged oil tanker.
Trump made the comments to reporters outside the White House.
Britain on Saturday denounced Iran's seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf as a "hostile act" and rejected Tehran's explanation that it seized the vessel because it had been involved in an accident.
Britain’s outrage over the seizure by Iranian naval commandos of an oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz is misplaced. Britain launched the tanker-snatching competition on July 4th when Royal Marines boarded and took charge of a supertanker, Grace 1, loaded with Iranian oil as it sailed past the British-overseas
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