Seized British-flagged tanker anchored off Iran: port authority

A handout photo shows the British-flagged Stena Impero off the coast of Amsterdam in 2018 (AFP Photo/Nico KEMPS)

Tehran (AFP) - A British-flagged tanker seized by Iran is now at anchor off the port of Bandar Abbas with all its crew aboard after colliding with a fishing boat, authorities said on Saturday.

"The British tanker Stena Impero collided with a fishing boat on its route and, according to law, after an accident it is necessary that the cause of the accident are investigated," said Allah-Morad Afifipoor, director-general of the Hormozgan province port and maritime organisation.

The Swedish-owned Stena Impero "has 23 crew and they are all on the ship" off Bandar Abbas, he said, quoted by Fars news agency.

Eighteen crew were Indian, including the captain, and the rest were from the Philippines, Latvia and Russia.

Following the collision, those on board the fishing boat "contacted the British vessel but didn't receive any response", he added.

"When the British vessel did not respond to the fishing boat, they informed the Hormozgan port and maritime office according to the legal procedures."

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said on Friday it had seized the Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz for breaking "international maritime rules".

Britain said Iran had seized two vessels in the Gulf, but the British owner of one of the tankers, the Liberian-flagged Mesdar, said it had been temporarily boarded by armed personnel, but was free to leave and that all crew were "safe and well."