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Stena Impero: Crew seen in first pictures from inside UK-flagged oil tanker seized by Iran | World News

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The crew of a British-flagged oil tanker seized by Iran in the Gulf have been pictured inside the vessel for the first time since armed soldiers took control.

Some of the 23 personnel stationed aboard the Stena Impero are seen working in the kitchen and assembled around a table, while others are visible near the windows on one of the decks, looking up towards an official stood in-front of them alongside a large pile of shoes.

Tehran had already released video footage of the moment on Friday that members of the Iran Revolutionary Guard rappelled on to the vessel, which is now being held at the Bandar Abbas port.

Iran has said the crew are in 'good health'
Image:
Iran has said the crew are in ‘good health’
There are 23 people in the crew
Image:
There are 23 people in the crew

Those on-board the Swedish-owned, European-operated tanker are from India, Latvia, Russia and the Philippines – and all are said to be in “good health”.

Among the crew is Dijo Pappachan, from Kochi, India, whose parents have said they are “shocked” by the situation.

His father, TV Pappachan, told the Khaleej Times newspaper: “He called and spoke with his mother on Thursday morning saying he is on his way to Saudi Arabia from Dubai. To our utter shock, we got a call from his company the next day saying the ship is under Iran’s custody.

“I am not speaking only for my son. All the 23 crew members set sail to foreign countries for work. They are on-board to make a living. We are all praying for the entire crew’s safe return.”

Stena Impero
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Some of the crew of the Stena Impero can be seen in this picture from inside the vessel
The crew of can be seen working in the kitchen
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The crew can be seen working in the kitchen

The crew had been expecting to arrive in the Saudi Arabian industrial city of Jubail on Sunday, having departed Fujairah on the east coast of the United Arab Emirates on Thursday.

As it passed westward through the Strait of Hormuz on Friday, it was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter, from which troops from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard rappelled on to the vessel to seize control.

The vessel’s course shifted north towards the Iranian coast.

Dijo Pappachan
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Dijo Pappachan is among the crew aboard the vessel
Deena and TV Pappachan, whose son is among the crew
Image:
Deena and TV Pappachan, whose son is among the crew

Some 40 minutes later, there was a similar course shift by the UK-operated, Liberian-flagged Mesdar.

That crew was allowed to continue their voyage a few hours later after the ship was boarded by armed guards.









Moment Iranian troops board tanker

The seizure of the Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz has sparked widespread condemnation in the UK, with a Cobra emergency committee meeting chaired by Prime Minister Theresa May.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said it looked like Iran was choosing a “dangerous path of illegal and destabilising behaviour”, but wants a “diplomatic solution” to the dispute.

He is due to update the House of Commons on the situation, with sanctions against Iran for its “illegal interference” said to be on the cards.

Ministers are reportedly considering freezing Iranian regime assets, which will exacerbate tensions that have been on a rapid rise since US sanctions came into effect at the start of May.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards patrolling around the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero off the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas
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Iranian Revolutionary Guards patrolling around the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero

It began when two US oil tankers in the region were attacked on 13 June, with Iran denying it was to blame after the regime was accused by Donald Trump.

Britain has since become embroiled in a tit-for-tat of its own, starting with the involvement of Royal Marines in the seizure of an Iranian supertanker near Gibraltar due to suspicions it was carrying oil to the Syrian regime.

Bob Seely MP, from the foreign affairs committee, has said the situation constitutes a “massive crisis” that will only grow unless there is “an Iranian nuclear deal that gets the US back in it”.

President Trump has said he "was not happy" about what the crowd had to say.
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Iran has blamed Donald Trump for the heightened tensions in the Gulf

Mr Trump took the US out of the international agreement earlier this year, and its remaining Western backers fear it will soon collapse.

The deal – considered one of the most significant foreign policy achievements of the Obama administration – was designed to see Iran eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium and reduce the number of its gas centrifuges for 13 years.



Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt MP has been in a Cobra meeting discussing what 'further measures' will be taken







Hunt to Iran: ‘We need that ship released’

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has blamed the US for the current situation in the Gulf, saying Washington wants to drag the UK “into a quagmire”.

Meanwhile, Iran claims it has broken up a CIA spying ring and sentenced some of the 17 suspects to death.

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Child among 22 migrants rescued from Channel by French authorities | World News

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French authorities have rescued 22 migrants who got into trouble while trying to cross the Channel.

The group, which included a woman and a child, was found roughly two miles off the coast of Dunkirk at about 1.30am on Sunday.

Authorities were alerted to the migrants’ plight by a ferry just after midnight and sent out search and rescue teams.

They were safely recovered and taken back to Dunkirk on board the RIAS Bee Languedoc.

Earlier this week, Boris Johnson warned migrants not to attempt the Channel crossing, saying: “We will send you back.”

The prime minister said: “Clearly the most important thing is to stop them coming across from France so we are working very closely with the French authorities.

“The point I would just make to people thinking of making this journey – one, it is very hazardous, you may think the weather looks great but it’s a very, very dangerous thing to do.

“The second thing is – we will send you back. The UK should not be regarded as a place where you could automatically come and break the law by seeking to arrive illegally.”

His comments came after dozens of migrants were rescued off the British south coast on Thursday.

One witness told Sky News dozens of people were picked up and taken to Dover, in Kent.

The Home Office confirmed 37 migrants were rescued after four small boats were intercepted.

It said Home Secretary Priti Patel would be raising the issue with her French counterpart.

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Five Britons arrested and 100kg of drugs confiscated in Malaga | UK News

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A British criminal network has been foiled in Spain, with more than 100kg of drugs confiscated. 

Five Britons – three men and two women aged between 38 and 62 – have been arrested in connection with the network by the National Police in Malaga.

Five people were arrested. Pic: Policia Nacional
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Three men and two women have been arrested. Pic: Policia Nacional

Officers said they intercepted 52kg of a mix of marijuana and hash, and 51kg of vacuum-packed marijuana buds.

The police operation also saw the seizure of 23,000 euros (£21,000) in cash.

Drugs were being sent across Europe through couriers based in Malaga, and it is thought they were destined for countries including the UK, Sweden, Poland and Denmark.

The suspects allegedly took steps to avoid police, including frequently changing which vehicles they used and the homes they rented, officers said.

Some of the drugs were destined for the UK. Pic: Policia Nacional
Image:
Some of the drugs were destined for the UK. Pic: Policia Nacional

A long-running police operation saw two parcel shipments intercepted at courier agencies in May, containing 58kg of drugs in seven boxes intended for Sweden, Poland and Denmark.

In subsequent shipments, the last one intercepted earlier in August, three packages containing 17kg of the drugs were prevented from reaching Sweden and the UK, the force said.

Police then carried out home searches once the suspects were identified, with a further 28kg uncovered in the raids.

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Hong Kong: Police use water cannon for first time against protesters | World News

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Hong Kong police have used water cannon against anti-government protesters for the first time during a second straight day of demonstrations.

There have been skirmishes between activists and officers following a pro-democracy march in an area known as the New Territories where tens of thousands took to the streets.

A large crowd then attended a rally in a park but another group of protesters took over a main street, putting up barricades with traffic barriers and cones.

Police tried to disperse them by firing tear gas but protesters reacted by throwing bricks and other objects towards the officers.

The violence came a day after similar clashes in the Kowloon Bay district where authorities arrested 29 people for offences including unlawful assembly, possession of offensive weapons and assaulting police officers.

According to the South China Morning Post, the custom-built French trucks have 15 high-pressure cannons.

Two cannons on the roof can fire more than 1,200 litres of water a minute over a distance of 50 metres. The water can be mixed with tear gas or liquid dye as well.

According to guidelines, the cannons should only be aimed at the lower limbs of the protesters.

An assistant commissioner of police overseeing operations is allowed to authorise deployment of the water cannon after assessing threats.

The trucks arrived in the city in May last year.

More follows…

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