Iran says the British-flagged Stena Impero oil tanker seized by IRGC forces in the Strait of Hormuz had collided with an Iranian fishing vessel but did not respond to the calls and warnings and had switched off its GPS locators.
Head of Ports and Maritime Organisation in southern Hormozgan province, Allahmorad Afifipour, said on Saturday that the UK oil tanker was in an accident with an Iranian fishing boat whose distress call it ignored.
The oil tanker has now been taken to the port city of Bander Abbas, situated on Iran’s southern coast and facing the Strait of Hormuz.
“All its 23 crew members will remain on the ship until the probe is over,” Afifipour said. The 23 crew comprised 18 Indian nationals and five others of other nationalities including Russia, the Philippines, and Latvia, he said.
Afifipour earlier said that the UK vessel had switched off its GPS locator, in contravention of international regulations, and was sailing into the Strait of Hormuz in a wrong traffic pattern.
The British tanker 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.
An informed source said the UK oil tanker was also polluting the Persian Gulf water heavily by dumping crude oil residue.
The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy captured the British oil tanker on Friday evening at the request of the Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran’s office in the province of Hormozgan.