Britain to seek European maritime mission to counter Iran’s ‘piracy’

Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt gives a statement in the House of Commons in London on the situation in the Gulf after Iran seized a UK-flagged tanker. (AFP)

Britain will seek to put together a European-led maritime protection mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz after Iran seized a British-flagged vessel in what London said was an act of “state piracy”.

“Under international law, Iran had no right to obstruct the ship’s passage - let alone board her. It was therefore an act of state piracy,” Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told parliament.

“We will now seek to put together a European-led maritime protection mission to support safe passage of both crew and cargo in this vital region,” Hunt said. He said he would discuss how this would complement US proposals in the area.

After the seizure of the Stena Impero on Friday, Britain will now ask all British-flagged ships to give the government notice of intentions to pass through the Strait of Hormuz, Hunt said.

“If Iran continues on this dangerous path, they must accept the price will be a larger Western military presence in the waters along their coastline,” Hunt told parliament.

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Last Update: Monday, 22 July 2019 KSA 22:26 - GMT 19:26
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