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Wednesday 16.10.2019 | Name days: Daiga, Dinija
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Latvian citizen among sailors of British tanker detained by Iran

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Among the crew of the British tanker detained by Iran is one Latvian citizen, according to the report from Latvia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.

The ministry confirms that on 19 July Iranian authorities detained Stena Impero, a tanker that was sailing through the Hormuz Strait under a British flag, and that one Latvian citizen was among its crew.

The ministry also reports that because Latvia does not have an embassy in Iran, the ministry has asked Finland’s embassy to step in and provide consular assistance to the detained Latvian citizen.

Currently Latvian and Finnish foreign affairs services are coordinating their efforts to secure the rights of the Latvian citizen who is a member of the maintenance crew of Stena Impero detained by Iranian authorities on 19 July. Iranian authorities have yet to allow Finnish representatives to contact the Latvian citizen.

Latvia’s ministry stresses that the government is doing everything to ensure the release of Latvia’s citizen. Latvia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs has contacted High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and British Foreign Affairs Minister Jeremy Hunt to coordinate efforts and secure support from the EU Foreign Affairs Service.

Latvia has turned to Iran, requesting the release of the Latvian citizen and other members of the crew of the detained tanker, the ministry reports.

Rinkēvičs says EU and British officials, as well as Latvia’s diplomatic corps, are involved in efforts to resolve the situation. Communication went all night long yesterday, he said. The minister also said the ministry will do all it can to secure the release of Latvia’s citizen.

Rinkēvičs says such detainment of a ship is unacceptable, adding that the situation is far for simple.

According to the minister, what happened is Iran’s response to the earlier detainment of one of its tankers that was carried out as a result of breach of sanctions against Syria.

On 19 July, Iranian authorities detained two British tankers in Hormuz Strait. One of them was later released.

British Foreign Affairs Minister Jeremy Hunt has said that he is very concerned about these incidents, which occurred as a result of increased tension in the strait important to international shipping.

Initially it was reported about the detainment of one tanker.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard has captured British tanker Stena Impero. Currently the vessel is on its way to the Iranian coast, as it was reported on Friday, 19 July, by the owner Stena Bulk and Northern Marine Management. The owner also reported that no communications are possible with the ship at the moment.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard has confirmed capturing the tanker, explaining that it had «breached international law».

Stena Bulk reported that the tanker was captured by Iranian speedboats and a helicopter at around 18:00 (Latvian local time). There were 23 crew members on board when it happened.

Britain has confirmed that one of the two captured ships is registered in this country. The other one sailed under the flag of Liberia, but is owned by British company Norbulk Shipping.

On 19 July Norbulk Shipping reported Iran releasing one of the detained tankers – Mesdar.

The Hormuz Strait in the Persian Gulf is one of the most important oil transportation ways. Recent incidents in this region have increased tension there, however.

Tension remains high between Iran and USA. Britain is also on edge with Iran.


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