A BRITISH-flagged Swedish owned tanker has been seized by Iran and is heading for the Revolutionary Guard base at Qeshm Island.

Northern Marine, a subsidiary of Stena AB, confirmed “hostile action” had occurred before the tanker Stena Impero changed its course this afternoon.

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The Stena Impero has been seized by Iran’s Revolutionary GuardCredit: PA:Press Association

A total of 23 crew members were on board.

The Foreign Office is “urgently seeking” further information after reports said it turned into Iranian waters.

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt is believed to have been briefed on the incident in the Gulf.

A statement from the ship’s owner and management firm said: “Stena Bulk and Northern Marine Management can confirm that at approximately 1600 BST on 19th July UK registered vessel Stena Impero was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters.

“We are presently unable to contact the vessel which is now heading north towards Iran.

“There are 23 seafarers aboard. There have been no reported injuries and their safety is of primary concern to both owners and managers.

“The priority of both vessel owner Stena Bulk and ship manager Northern Marine Management is the safety and welfare of the crew.”

Just a few days ago Iran’s supreme leader had threatened Britain with retaliation over what he described as the “vicious” seizure of an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar by UK forces.

Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused Britain of “piracy” after the Royal Marines seized a supertanker believed to be carrying Iranian crude oil to Syria on July 4.

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He has called for the immediate release of the oil tanker Grace 1, which was detained on suspicion it was breaking European sanctions by taking oil to Syria.

In a TV speech, the Ayatollah said: “Evil Britain commits piracy and steals our ship and gives it a legal appearance.

“Iran and those who believe in our system will not leave such vicious deeds unanswered.”

An Iranian bomb boat was found in the path of a British warship racing to the Gulf just two days ago.

HMS Duncan could have been destroyed by the unmanned attack ship packed with explosives, according to reports.

It comes as the UK is sending three ships to the Gulf.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard also seized another oil tanker on Sunday, the Panama-flagged MT Riah.

The country later released a video showing the troops in speedboats seizing the tanker along with 12 members which it accused of smuggling oil.

The unverified video shows the moment two speedboats circulating the Panama-flagged MT Riah.

The foreign oil tanker was reportedly then seized shortly after being surrounded in stormy waters.

 The map shows the route taken by the Stena Impero which is said to have been captured by Iran

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The map shows the route taken by the Stena Impero which is said to have been captured by IranCredit: PA:Press Association
 Iran's supreme leader had issued a threat to the UK previously

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Iran’s supreme leader had issued a threat to the UK previouslyCredit: Reuters
 The Foreign Office said it was urgently seeking clarification on the situation

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The Foreign Office said it was urgently seeking clarification on the situationCredit: FleetMon
 HMS Duncan, a Type 45 Destroyer, heading to the Gulf as Iran threatens to disrupt shipping

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HMS Duncan, a Type 45 Destroyer, heading to the Gulf as Iran threatens to disrupt shippingCredit: Press Association Images
 Footage shows the Revolutionary Guard in speedboats seizing a foreign oil tanker

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Footage shows the Revolutionary Guard in speedboats seizing a foreign oil tanker
Footage post by Press TV of Iran seizing a ‘foreign tanker’ and its 12 crew for smuggling fuel in the Gulf

More to follow…

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