The Iranian mission to the United Nations sent a letter to the UN Security Council, explaining reasons for a recent move by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) to capture a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf.
The British-flagged Stena Impero hit and damaged an Iranian fishing vessel in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday, July 19, 2019, the Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the UN in New York said in the letter, released on Wednesday.
Health conditions of some crew and fishermen of the Iranian ship are critical, according to the letter.
The Iranian UN mission also emphasized that the British tanker ignored warnings of the Iranian authorities after the incident and, by turning off its navigation systems in a dangerous move, changed its direction and moved in the opposite direction.
While the British supertanker was trying to escape Iranian forces, they stopped and captured it, the letter stated.
The IRGC’s Public Relations Department said in a statement on Friday that the vessel named “Stena Impero” had been impounded “at the request of Hormozgan Ports and Maritime Organization when passing through the Strait of Hormuz, for failing to respect international maritime rules.”
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also said the country’s military forces captured the British-flagged oil tanker to “uphold international maritime rules”.
The vessel had switched off its GPS locator, in contravention of international regulations, and was sailing into the strait in a wrong traffic pattern.
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.