In July, the United Kingdom’s Navy seized the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 near Gibraltar. In response, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) gave a stern warning to the U.K that their British ships will be seized as well.
Recently, the IRGC seized a British oil tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz, while on its way from Fujairah, UAE to Jubail in Saudi Arabia.
The blogger Moon of Alabama posted a scenario of how the oil tanker was seized by IRGC:
“Just when the ship had passed through the Straits of Hormuz from east to west it was approached by IRGC fast boots. The ship made a sharp turn south towards Oman but could not outrun the IRGC boots. It was boarded.
“It then slowed down, made a sharp 180 degree turn and sailed towards north. It is now in Iranian waters. The last Automatic Identification System (AIS) signal it emitted came in at about 17:30 UTC.”
Iran has announced that the IRGC seized Stena Imperio in retaliation to UK’s seizure of Grace 1 because it violated the international maritime regulations when crossing the Strait of Hormuz.
The UK oil tanker was seized by the IRGC Navy forces in the first naval zone at the request of the Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran at the province of Hormozgan, the statement said.
There is an audio recording of British and Iranian naval authorities radioing instructions to a UK-flagged oil tanker just moments before it was seized.
The exchange begins with an Iranian vessel telling the Stena Impero to change direction:
“If you obey you will be safe, alter your course. As you are conducting transit passage in a recognized international strait, under international law your passage must not be impaired, impeded, obstructed or hampered.”
The Iranians responded, stating that they do not have intentions to challenge the ship and only wish to carry out an inspection for “security reasons.”
British media has been floating possible sanctions on Iran however, UK has already expressed its intention to de-escalate the situation.