News story

Iran tanker seizure: UK government response

This page sets out our response to the situation in the Gulf after Iranian forces seized a British-flagged tanker, Stena Impero, in the Strait of Hormuz.

HMS Duncan

HMS Duncan. Crown copyright.

Stena Impero seized in the Strait of Hormuz


On 28 July the Royal Navy ship HMS Duncan arrived in the Gulf. Along with the HMS Montrose, the ship will support the safe passage of British-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz.

Previous updates

On 19 July Iranian authorities seized the British-flagged tanker, Stena Impero, in Omani waters in clear contravention of international law. Following a ministerial COBR meeting on 20 July, The former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt gave a statement on iranian actions in the Strait of Hormuz.

The UK Mission to the United Nations in New York, on behalf of the UK government, sent a letter to the President of the United Nations Security Council setting out the facts about the incident.

On 21 July the Foreign Secretary called the French and German foreign ministers. Both agreed with the Foreign Secretary that safe passage through the Strait of Hormuz is a top priority for European nations, while avoiding escalation in the region.

On 22 July the Foreign Secretary underlined further action to protect freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz. This includes seeking to put together a European-led maritime protection mission to support safe passage of both crew and cargo in this vital region.

Jeremy Hunt statement on Iran’s illegal seizure of the Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz

Earlier maritime security incidents

Grace 1 detained off the coast of Gibraltar

On 4 July the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 was detained during a a government of Gibraltar-led operation to uphold EU sanctions on Syria. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt spoke with the Chief Minister of Gibraltar and with the Iranian Foreign Minister about the Grace 1 tanker.

On 15 July the Foreign Secretary attended the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels. Before his visit, he gave a statement on Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal and also commented on the detention of the Grace 1 and the rights of commercial ships in the Gulf.

Tankers attacked in the Gulf of Oman

The UK government is almost certain that a branch of the Iranian military attacked 2 tankers on 13 June. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt condemned the attacks on civilian shipping, and called on Iran to cease all forms of destabilising activity. Read the UK statement on the attacks in the Gulf of Oman.

Published 21 July 2019