UK Prime Minister To Chair Meeting On Iran Tanker Crisis

A helicopter hovers over British-flagged tanker Stena Impero near the strait of Hormuz

A helicopter hovers over British-flagged tanker Stena Impero near the strait of Hormuz Credit Reuters

Present foreign secretary and leadership contender Jeremy Hunt has promised to boost defence funding, while former London mayor Boris Johnson has declined to comment on the subject at all.

Maritime industry publication Lloyd's List said there are now no United Kingdom -flagged ships heading to the Persian Gulf and eight United Kingdom -flagged vessels anchored there after a government advisory to such vessels to avoid the Strait of Hormuz.

Britain said that there was no evidence the Swedish-owned tanker hit a fishing boat and that its transponders were on in global waters.

Britain is considering a number of options to raise the economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran but officials say military operations are not being considered at the moment.

Instead of focusing on tackling terrorism and the illegal drugs trade like the Combined Task Force 150, the new scheme would have a mandate to ensure freedom of navigation of worldwide ships, the Foreign Office explained.

Saudi Arabia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs on Sunday condemned Iran's seizure of a British flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz and urged the global community to take action to deter such "unacceptable" behavior.

The meeting of security ministers and officials will discuss how to secure shipping in the sensitive region, which is vital to the world's oil supply.

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On Sunday evening, the Foreign Office confirmed Mr Hunt had spoken with his French and German counterparts who agreed that a "safe passage for vessels" through the economically significant Strait of Hormuz was "a top priority" for Europe.

The UK has advised its shipping operators to stay out of Hormuz as the standoff continues.

Ministers also denied reports that the UK's focus on domestic politics was partly to blame for the the vessel being commandeered in Omani waters in the Strait of Hormuz.

British ministers were expected to unveil their plans in a speech to parliament later on Monday.

"We will seek to establish this mission as quickly as possible", he said, adding: "It will not be part of the U.S. maximum pressure policy on Iran".

WTI fell over 7% and Brent fell more than 6% last week.

It is of course not possible for the Royal Navy to provide escorts for every single ship or indeed eliminate all risks of piracy.

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The vessel, however, was escorted by a Royal Navy frigate, which threatened to shoot if the Iranians did not back away, which they did, according to USA military sources.

Iran repeatedly threatened to retaliate, culminating with its seizure of the Stena Impero on Friday using the same tactics - commandos rappelling to the deck from helicopters - that British Royal Marines had used aboard Iran's own ship. Three six zero degrees immediately. "I want to inspect the ship for security reason".

In a post on Twitter on July 22, government spokesman Rabiei insisted that the seizure of the Stena Impero was not a retaliatory move, while accusing Britain of undermining good faith in bilateral relations.

Iranian state television published images it said showed Central Intelligence Agency officers who had been in touch with the suspected spies.

"Our first and most important responsibility is to make sure that we get a solution to the issue to do with the current ship, make sure other British-flagged ships are safe to operate in these waters and then look at the wider picture", Ellwood told Sky News. Other footage shows the perspective from Iranian boats that surrounded the vessel.

Iran, which says it seized the tanker for breaking "international maritime rules" remained defiant towards UK, European and U.S. calls to release the ship and said it has launched an investigation.

Communication with the ship was later re-established and the crew were unharmed. The tanker failed to respond to pertinent authorities after an accident involving an Iranian fishing boat and changed route instead.

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