Iran claims it seized a British tanker because it collided with an Iranian fishing boat

Iranian authorities say they seized a British-flagged tanker after it collided with an Iranian fishing boat and then failed to respond to attempts to contact it.
"The British vessel hit a fishing trawler, which needs to be investigated," Iranian news agency IRNA quoted Allahmorad Afifipour, the Director-General of the Ports and Maritime Department of Hormuzgan province, as saying.
The tanker was seized and escorted to port in the city of Bandar Abbas, IRNA said.
The UK has condemned the seizure, calling it "unacceptable."
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Iranian authorities claim the reason they seized a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday relates to it colliding with an Iranian fishing vessel.
According to Iran's state-run IRNA news service, the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero was seized after it was involved in a collision but failed to respond to an attempt at contact made by the boat it hit.
Read more: Iranian forces seized 2 British tankers on Friday in an escalation against the US and UK
"The British vessel hit a fishing trawler, which needs to be investigated," IRNA quoted Allahmorad Afifipour, the Director-General of the Ports and Maritime Department of Hormuzgan province, as saying.
IRNA said that after Stena Impero failed to respond, the fishing vessel contacted the Ports and Maritime Organization to "inform them of the accident."
At this point the vessel was seized and escorted to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, on the Strait of Hormuz, IRNA said.
Iran also briefly seized another British-flagged ship, the Mesdar, but it was released soon afterwards.

Iran's seizure of the Stena Impero and the Mesdar has been widely condemned in the West, with the UK government describing it as "unacceptable."
"We remain deeply concerned about Iran's unacceptable actions which represent a clear challenge to international freedom of navigation," a statement by the government after a meeting of the COBRA emergency committee said early on Saturday morning.
"Our response will be considered and robust and there will be serious consequences if the situation is not resolved."
The seizure of the Stena Impero is seen as a major escalation of tensions between the West and Iran, after a series of incidents in the Strait of Hormuz in recent weeks.

The seizure came less than 24 hours after the US said it had downed an Iranian drone which flew too close to one of the US Navy's ships, an account Iran disputed.
Read more: Iran denied Trump's assertion that a US warship shot down one of its drones and said it was 'worried' the US actually destroyed its own aircraft
Iran's explanation for the seizure of the ship, however, could potentially deescalate rapidly rising tensions, according to Sir Peter Westmacott, the former British ambassador to the US.
Speaking to Sky News, Westmacott said the explanation "gives a slight cause for hope."
"The latest explanation gives slight cause for hope because if it was caused by an accident rather than some flouting of the rules they want to make a big fuss about, that could possibly lead a way to some kind of deescalation and letting the ship go but it's got to be looked at very urgently," he said.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Nxivm leader Keith Raniere has been convicted. Here's what happened inside his sex-slave ring that recruited actresses and two billionaire heiresses.

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