(Persia Digest) - Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says it has seized a British oil tanker for breaching international maritime law while crossing the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

In a statemet on Friday, the IRGC said that the vessel named “Stena Impero” had been captured “at the request of Hormozgan Ports and Maritime Organization when passing through the Strait of Hormuz, for failing to respect international maritime rules.”

Mehr News reports that the oil tanker was transferred to the coast to undergo the required legal proceedings, the statement added.

An unnamed Iranian maritime official said the ship had breached international maritime regulations by passing through a prohibited maritime passage in the Strait, turning off its tracking signals and ignoring warnings issued by Iranian authorities.

The vessel's numerous infringements counted as a violation of the "innocent passage," referring to a maritime law related to the passage of vessels through the territorial waters of another state.


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"The tanker had turned off its tracker and ignored several warnings by the IRGC before being impounded," the source said.

The Northern Marine Management, which owns the Stena Impero, has said the vessel carried 23 crew members.

Meanwhile, Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Friday that a second vessel was also impounded by Iran. He described the capture of both tankers as "unacceptable".

But later on, informed Iranian military sources said the second British-owned Liberian-flagged tanker, the Mesdar, was allowed to continue its pre-scheduled course after "being briefed on the concept of innocent passage and observing environmental regulations”.

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