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UK calls emergency meeting to discuss shipping security in Gulf

??2019-7-26??

THE UK's Prime Minister Theresa May has chaired an emergency resp???????se Cobra committee meeting to discuss ways to tighten maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz after Iranian Revoluti???????ary Guards seized the UK-flagged product tanker Stena Impero in this sea passage ??????? Friday.

UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has warned Iran of "serious c???????sequences", and called ??????? Iran to observe the rules that safeguard commercial shipping and for Iran to release the tanker and its crew, describing its seizure as "state piracy".


UK shipping in the regi??????? has all but halted after the UK Department for Transport requested all British-flagged ships to avoid the Strait of Hormuz until further notice, having raised the threat level to 'critical' for UK ships in Iranian waters, reported UK's Lloyd's List.


In a statement to members of UK's parliament, Mr Hunt said the tanker was seized while passing through Omani territorial waters and in full compliance with internati???????al laws.


Mr Hunt said that Iran's seizure of the tanker was "a flagrant breach of the principle of free navigati??????? ??????? which the global trading system and world ec???????omy ultimately depends".


In a letter to the president of the United Nati???????s Security Council the UK earlier stated: "Current tensi???????s are extremely c???????cerning, and our priority is to de-escalate.


"We do not seek c???????fr???????tati??????? with Iran. But it is unacceptable and highly escalatory to threaten shipping going about its legitimate business through internati???????ally recognised transit corridors".


The Stena Impero is currently being held by the Iranian authorities at anchor just off Bandar Abbas port. The 23 crew members, who are Indian, Russian, Latvian and Filipino, have been taken off the ship for "questi???????ing", Iran's Press TV has reported.


There are eight UK-flagged vessels over 10,000 dwt in the Persian Gulf, all at anchor. These include four chemical tankers, a liquefied petroleum gas carrier, a naval auxiliary vessel, a c???????tainership, and ???????e general cargo ship with c???????tainer capacity.


While the threat remains targeted to UK ships, the UK Chamber of Shipping has argued that an internati???????al resp???????se is now need to resolve an internati???????al problem.


"We are working closely with [the government] ??????? restoring c???????fidence and security am???????g the shipping community so that trade can c???????tinue to flow freely through the regi??????? over the coming days," UK Chamber of Shipping chief executive Bob Sanguinetti told Lloyd's List ??????? Sunday evening.


While Mr Sanguinetti has declined to comment ??????? whether the current deployment of naval assets is sufficient, he is of the opini??????? that the shipping community needs to be reassured by the presence of adequate support to guarantee their safety and security.


"We mustn't forget that, looking bey???????d the specific incident, Iranian activity in the past two m???????ths has had an impact ??????? the interests of over 20 countries - this is an internati???????al problem. It requires an internati???????al soluti???????," Mr Sanguinetti was quoted as saying.

 
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