The naval attacks had not been reported before Thursday.
The naval attacks had not been reported before Thursday.
The Achilleas’ owner, Capital Ship Management Corp., alerted U.S. authorities to the possibility that it had unknowingly taken on Iranian crude, after initially thinking it came from Iraq, Bloomberg reported last month.
Washington ordered the Liberia-flagged ship to sail to the U.S. before Biden came to power on Jan. 20, according to people familiar with the matter.
The U.S. has gone to court to seize 2 million barrels of oil that it claims came from Iran, as Joe Biden’s administration shows little sign of taking a softer line on Tehran.
The Department of Justice filed a case in a U.S. district court, seeking to seize the cargo on the Greek-owned Achilleas tanker, according to a statement on Tuesday.
The tankers were transporting 1.116 million barrels of petroleum, which has now been confiscated after help from “foreign partners,” the Justice Department said in a statement Friday. It is not clear where the ships were at the time of the seizures because they had all turned off their satellite-tracking systems to avoid detection between May and July, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
„The ship’s 16 crew who are of Malaysian nationality were arrested,“ the Guards‘ naval commander for the region, Brigadier-General Ali Ozmayi, was quoted as saying.
Abu Musa is one of three islands in the southern Gulf that are under Iranian control but claimed by the United Arab Emirates.
Col. Abdullah Mohammed Al-Omari, the director of the exercise, earlier said that it is part of the efforts to ensure the Saudi military is fully prepared and ready to face all challenges to maintain security and peace in the region and the world.
“The exercise targets building mutual trust, enhancing cooperation between the Saudi Royal Navy and the Chinese PLA Navy, exchanging experiences, developing the capacity of participants to combat maritime terrorism and piracy, and improving training and combat readiness,” he added.
Iranian military spokesman General Abolfazl Shekarchi said the joint maneuvers, which are aimed at promoting regional security, will extend as far as the Sea of Oman. The drill is seen as a response to recent U.S. maneuvers with its regional ally Saudi Arabia, in which China also participated.
“If anyone thinks that seizing tankers and attacking oil infrastructure can in any way affect cooperation between Russia and our Arab friends, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, that they can undermine or break down our cooperation with OPEC+, then they are profoundly wrong,” said Putin, addressing a question on regional security.
“On the contrary, we will forge ever closer ties because our main goal is to stabilize global energy markets,” he added, saying that Russia remained committed to the initiatives of the OPEC+ group of oil producers driven by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The British ship Stena Impero, detained by the Iranian military in July, will be released in a few days. As the official representative of the Iranian Foreign Ministry Abbas Mousavi said on Monday, September 16, it remains to solve a number of bureaucratic issues.
Rohani added that he will offer a regional peace plan during his visit to the UN this week. Fears of a wider regional conflagration have grown, as tensions between Iran and the U.S. remain high over Tehran’s failing 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Recently, Iran has broken the deal’s limits on enrichment, uranium stockpiles and the use of advanced centrifuges, as ot seeks to pressure Europe to offer it a way to sell its crude oil on the international market despite U.S. sanctions.
His comments come one week after meeting with Erik Hanell, the chief of Swedish shipping firm Stena Bulk, which owns the seized vessel. Hanell asked Tehran to release the ship and its crew of 23.
The announcement by government spokesman Ali Rabiei represent just the latest twist in the saga of the Adrian Darya 1, which had been known as the Grace 1 when authorities seized the vessel off Gibraltar on July 4, on suspicion of breaking European Union sanctions targeting Syria.
Dubbed “Nobel Rose,” the drill simulated various scenarios where troops had to take over a hijacked ship vessel and extracting troops from enemy territory.
An Iranian ship held by Gibraltar since July on suspicion of transporting oil to Syria has left port.
Marine tracking shows the tanker moving east into the Mediterranean and lists Kalamata in Greece as the destination.
Gibraltar earlier rejected a request by the US to again seize the ship, which has changed its name from Grace 1 to Adrian Darya-1.
But Gibraltar lifted the detention order last Thursday after Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said he had secured written assurances from Tehran that the cargo would not go to Syria.
Those assurances, in the form of diplomatic Notes Verbale from the Iranian government, were published last Thursday by Gibraltar as part of the legal notice lifting the detention order.
The Iranian supertanker Grace 1 is unlikely to sail from Gibraltar before Sunday, the Chronicle understands, with six crewmen including a new captain scheduled to arrive this weekend.
Logistical arrangements are currently being put in place by the vessel’s owners after it was released on Thursday following six weeks detained under Gibraltar’s sanctions legislation.
The Gibraltar Chronicle newspaper reported that the vessel was unlikely to sail before Sunday, citing an unnamed source who added that it was waiting for six new crew members including a captain to arrive that day.
A lawyer for the Grace 1’s current captain also told the newspaper that his client had asked to be replaced.
Authorities in Gibraltar were given permission by Gibraltar’s Supreme Court to detain the vessel until mid-August, with another hearing on the matter set for Thursday morning. The current detention order on the vessel expires on Saturday night.
TASS reported that Khanzadi visited Russia in late July. While the location of the exercises has not been confirmed, Iran said activity could be conducted in the Strait of Hormuz as well as the northern part of the Indian Ocean.
Dominic Raab, the new foreign secretary, said the UK had to respond to the “increased threat” now. He added: “Our aim is to build the broadest international support to uphold freedom of navigation in the region, as protected under international law.”
(This item is being updated.)
State TV quoted by Reuters said the Revolutionary Guard Corps‘ naval forces had „seized a foreign tanker in the Persian Gulf that was smuggling fuel for some Arab countries“.
It said the tanker was carrying 700,000l of fuel, adding that seven sailors had been detained.
The reported incident comes amid high tension after the US tightened sanctions on Iran’s oil sector.
The UK’s legal right to seize either ships or goods in transit through the Strait of Gibraltar is highly debatable. It is Iran’s oil; and even if it is going to Syria as the UK claims, Syria is not under UN sanctions, the only legal international sanctions that count.
The European External Action Service, the EU body responsible for its foreign policy, was deafening in its silence on the UK action, supposedly taken to enforce EU sanctions. Even Carl Bildt, the co-chairman of the European Council on Foreign Relations, was constrained to tweet, “One refers to EU sanctions against Syria, but Iran is not a member of EU. And EU as a principle doesn’t impose its sanctions on others. That’s what the US does.”
„We have officially asked Germany to assist, together with France and the U.K., to maintain security of the Strait of Hormuz and counter Iranian aggression,“ a U.S. official was quoted as saying by the German press agency DPA.
„Freedom of navigation is crucial for the global trading system and world economy, and we will do all we can to defend it.
„The Department for Transport has therefore updated its advice to confirm that the Royal Navy has been tasked to accompany British-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz, either individually or in groups, should sufficient notice be given of their passage.”
The Syrian government has two big oil-producing friends, Iran and Russia. With the routes from the first apparently closed, it may have to turn to the second. This presents a new host of potential risks. Impounding an Iranian ship in the Strait of Gibraltar is one thing. Stopping a Russian ship in the Aegean Sea is quite another.
It seized documents and questioned the crew. The ten сrew members — all Russians — on the small oil-products carrier were later released, though the ship will remain, the Russian embassy in Kiev said, according to RIA Novosti. Ukrainian officials couldn’t immediately be reached to comment on that.
Apart from the 18 Indians aboard the Stena Impero, there are three Russians, a Latvian and a Filipino on the ship.
Nor, presumably, would they want the world to test their claim that they can shut off the Strait of Hormuz—when they make this threat, they are quick to add that they “don’t want to.” Closing the waterway through which a quarter of the world’s oil trade flows would not only harm the global economy and stick it to regional adversaries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, it would also deeply inconvenience Iran’s few friends and sympathizers.
It was entering the strait from the southern route, which is an exit path, increasing the risk of an accident.
Moreover, Stena Impero had not heeded any of the warnings from the Iranian Ports and Maritime Organization.
The UK oil tanker was also polluting the Persian Gulf water heavily by dumping crude oil residue.
That red line, for Trump, would be any deaths or injuries of American soldiers, diplomats or citizens, said Henry Rome, an analyst for global macro politics at Eurasia Group.
„But because we have not seen that, the president has not felt compelled to retaliate,“ he told CNBC on Tuesday. „The Iranians have been trying to feel around to find out where this red line is.“
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt discussed the incident with Jean-Yves Le Drian and Heiko Maas.
After the dramatic hijacking of the Stena Impero oil tanker carrying 23 crew by Iranian Special Forces, top brass were last night devising a list of options for a rapid military response.
It is understood they will seek the green light to deploy Royal Marines on British vessels travelling through the Strait of Hormuz to act as a deterrent to further aggression.
Gibraltar said the Iranian vessel, seized by marines in a daring landing in darkness off the coast of the British territory on July 4, was suspected of smuggling oil to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected to announce a range of measures targeting the Iranian regime following the seizure of the Stena Impero on Friday Afternoon.
Mr Hunt is expected to urge the European Union to support British calls for a host of diplomatic and economic sanctions to target Iran- including reimposing restrictions which were lifted after Tehran signed the 2016 nuclear deal.
– The Stena Impero was seized in the Strait of Hormuz at 4pm yesterday by Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces
– British-registered tanker was ordered to turn to the north and was taken into Iranian territorial waters
– Warship HMS Montrose, which was patrolling the Persian Gulf, did a U-turn and raced to help captured ship
– A second vessel, the British-operated Mesdar was seized by Iran but was released after being inspected
– Following an emergency COBRA meeting, Iran was warned it faces ’serious consequences‘ for their actions
The HMS Montrose was dispatched while the Stena Impero was in Omani waters but the warship arrived after the tanker had entered the Strait of Hormuz.
A defence source told the Times the Iranians appeared to be taking a „very aggressive stance“ and were viewed as having been „ready to engage“ HMS Montrose.
Defence secretary Penny Mordaunt has said the UK-registered oil tanker seized by Iran was intercepted in Omani waters, describing the incident as a “hostile act”.
The Stena Impero, a British-flagged ship carrying crude oil, was boarded and captured by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Friday.
„It is essential that freedom of navigation is maintained and that all ships can move safely and freely in the region,“ Hunt said late Friday, ahead of an emergency government meeting. He subsequently told British media that „we’re looking at a diplomatic way to resolve the situation, but we are very clear that it must be resolved.“
In seizing a foreign tanker which it accuses of „violating international regulations,“ Tehran has resorted to a form of piracy in international waters.
At a time when Iran might have begun to win friends and influence people in the world’s corridors of power, it’s showing that it really could be the force of dangerous instability that its most ardent enemies have claimed.
“We’re going to be speaking with the U.K., and this only goes to show what I’m saying about Iran: trouble, nothing but trouble,” Trump told reporters while departing the White House.
Trump did not say whether the incident would prompt a response, saying, “Let’s see what happens.“
– Lord West slammed UK for not anticipating retaliation from Iranian forces in Gulf
– Found it ‚bizarre‘ British vessels passing through Strait of Hormuz unguarded
– Two ships were captured by Iran last night, days after UK seized Iranian oil tanker
The IRGC’s Public Relations Department said in a statement on Friday that the vessel named “Stena Impero” had been confiscated “at the request of Hormozgan Ports and Maritime Organization when passing through the Strait of Hormuz, for failing to respect international maritime rules.”
A British-flagged oil tanker has been seized in the Gulf by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Iran media say.
HMS Duncan is currently in the Mediterranean and is expected to join HMS Montrose in the region next week.
Jeremy Hunt has said the Royal Navy has been “run down too much” as he cited a skirmish between Britain and Iran in the Persian Gulf as proof that more warships are needed.
The Foreign Secretary said the “deeply troubling” events in the Middle East showed that the Navy must be “expanded to meet the threats we face”.
„The Grace 1 was detained last week in Gibraltar when it freely navigated into British Gibraltar territorial waters to a point two miles off the Eastside of Gibraltar, having previously exited the international waters of the Straits of Gibraltar, on a pre-arranged call for provisions and spare parts,“ the Gibraltar Government spokesman said.
The ship was „well inside BGTW“ when it was boarded and remains detained in that area, the spokesman added.
To illustrate that point, the Gibraltar Government issued a screen grab from the Port of Gibraltar’s vessel traffic monitoring system taken on the night of detention.
Spain, which challenges the British ownership of Gibraltar, has said the seizure was prompted by a US request to Britain and appeared to have taken place in Spanish waters.
„We’re engaging now with a number of countries to see if we can put together a coalition that would ensure freedom of navigation both in the Straits of Hormuz and the Bab al-Mandab,“ said Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Washington has a new tactic in its ongoing campaign against Tehran: outsource the naval blockade of Iran and have allies seize oil tankers in international waterways – all in the name of “freedom of navigation,” of course.
Analysis: UK officials say the aim is to calm the situation and not make it more incendiary – as some in Washington appear to be intent on doing
Noting that the tanker was moving in the international waterways, he said that the UK has no right to exert its or EU’s unilateral sanctions against other countries extraterritorially.
„This is the same US bullying policy that European states have always protested to it,“ he
According to Spanish officials, the Grace 1, Panamanian-flagged tanker carrying Iranian oil, was seized by British patrol ships off Gibralter and was detained on the US orders.
Authorities said there was reason to believe the ship, called the Grace 1, was carrying crude oil to the Baniyas Refinery in Syria.
The refinery is subject to European Union sanctions against Syria, the chief minister of the government said.
“This sanctions-busting ship is now out of service,” said John C. Demers, the head of the Justice Department’s national security division. The complaint was filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Thursday by the United States attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York.
The civil action came as North Korea’s weapons tests over the past several days have threatened the disarmament discussions that President Trump opened.