21:11 GMT27 February 2020
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    The Liberian-flagged oil tanker Mesdar has not been seized by Iranian officials, military sources told Iran's Tasnim News Agency on Friday.

    Despite reports and remarks from UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt that the Mesdar had been detained by Iran, regional military officials have indicated that the vessel was never seized by Iran, rather it was let off with a warning after reportedly disobeying regulations.

    "Despite reports, the ship has not been seized ... and was allowed to continue its course after being warned about safety issues by Iranian forces," Tasnim's report reads.

    According to the Fars News Agency, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had issued warnings to the oil tanker over its adherence to safe navigation practices and environmental standards.

    ​Moments prior, Hunt had indicated in a statement that the Mesdar had been seized in the Strait of Hormuz following reports that the Stena Impero had been detained. "These seizures are unacceptable," Hunt said before noting that he was "extremely concerned."

    Owner Norbulk Shipping UK later clarified, saying the Mesdar had been boarded by armed personnel at approximately 5:30 p.m. British Summer Time (GMT+1), but that the personnel had departed without incident. Norbulk said the vessel is now "free to continue its voyage" and that its crew are safe and well.


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