Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 August 2019

Timeline: Gulf tensions rise as British ship seized

Key events in the leadup to the seizure of the Stena Impero on July 19

Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 sits anchored after it was seized earlier this month by British Royal Marines off the coast of the British Mediterranean territory on suspicion of violating sanctions against Syria, in the Strait of Gibraltar. Reuters
Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 sits anchored after it was seized earlier this month by British Royal Marines off the coast of the British Mediterranean territory on suspicion of violating sanctions against Syria, in the Strait of Gibraltar. Reuters

May 12

Four commercial tankers are attacked in Straight of Oman. Two Saudi, a Norwegian and an Emirati-registered ship involved in the incident that the US quickly blamed on Iran. Tehran denied involvement and an international investigation is quickly launched.

June 13

The Japanese Kokuka Courageous and the Norwegian Front Altair damaged by limpet mines. The US again blames Iran and releases footage they say shows Iran guards removing an object from the side of one of the ships after the initial blasts.

June 17

The US says Iran shot down a Reaper drone during Gulf of Oman incident.

July 4

British marines seize Iranian Panama-flagged Grace 1 off Gibraltarsaying the vessel was transporting oil to Syria in contravention of EU sanctions. Iran demands the return of the ship and warns of repercussions for the action.

July 11

A British naval frigate warned off three Iranian vessels after they attempted to stop and divert an oil tanker from its passage through the Strait of Hormuz.

July 13

Panama flagged Riah shuts off tracking systems and goes dark. Last seen heading towards Iranian waters from Strait of Hormuz.

July 16

US military general says concerned that Iran has seized the Riah. Meanwhile, UAE officials say the ship is neither owned nor operated by the UAE and has no Emirati nationals aboard. UAE officials add that they received no distress signal when the ship went missing.

July 17

Iran says it has towed the Riah to Iran for repairs after receiving a distress signal.

July 19

Hours after the US say they shot down an Iranian drone over the Strait of Hormuz, Iran Revolutionary Guards seize Swedish owned, British flagged tanker Stena Impero.

July 20

The UK demands the return of Stena Impero and British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt speaks to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to express disappointment at the move after Iran said they wanted to de-escalate the situation.

Updated: July 20, 2019 07:05 PM

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