Update 2: They may have captured a second British tanker.
BREAKING: Reuters reported that a *second* British-operated tanker had taken a sharp northerly turn and was heading toward Iran after passing through the Strait of Hormuz into the Gulf. https://t.co/ml7J54RH6x
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) July 19, 2019
Update 1: Iran has confirmed it seized the tanker.
A British oil tanker traveling through the Strait of Hormuz to Saudi Arabia has made some strange maneuvers, causing speculation that it has been seized by Iran.
The tanker, Stena Impero, veered off course according to positioning trackers and is now heading towards the Iranian island of Qeshm which has a substantial Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) base. British authorities are seeking answers.
This looks bad. UK-flagged tanker "Stena Impero" has taken a very sudden turn in to Iranian waters. It is listed as going to Saudi Arabia. @thinkdefence @UKDefJournal @ELINTNews @DefenceSenseUK @air_intel @AuroraIntel pic.twitter.com/1FHg2oc8bh
— The Brit (@TheBrit96) July 19, 2019
The Islamic republic has threatened retaliation for the British seizure of an Iranian tanker heading towards Syria, which would break an EU sanction. Five Iranian attack vessels confronted a British tanker last week but quickly retreated when the Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose closed in.
Iran has long claimed sovereignty over the international waters of the Strait of Hormuz. They attempted to stage bombings of two oil tankers last month and four in May in hopes of being able to act as defenders of the Strait, but U.S. video of the second round of bombings caught an Iranian ship removing an unexploded mine from the haul. With that potential bargaining chip off the table, it appears they’re trying to work their way to the negotiating table by force.
A collapsing economy is forcing Iran to make aggressive moves. This is standard operating procedure for the desperate. An international military response may be in order to abate further acts of terrorism by Iran.
This story is developing and will be updated.
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