Gibraltar court to decide fate of seized Iranian tanker

Gibraltar authorities will also decide on the fate of four crew members of the Grace 1

Gibraltar: Gibraltar’s Supreme Court was to decide on Thursday whether an Iranian oil tanker seized last month near the tiny British territory can be held longer amid speculation that it might soon be released.

The Grace 1 supertanker, carrying 2.1 million barrels of Iranian oil, was seized on July 4 by Gibraltar police and British special forces off the overseas British territory, provoking a diplomatic crisis between Tehran and London. It was suspected of carrying oil to war-torn Syria in violation of EU sanctions.

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Source: gulfnews.com

Israel Joins U.S. Security Coalition for Strait of Hormuz

Persian Gulf/SoH

Israel has joined the American military coalition for maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz, according to Israeli foreign minister Yisrael Katz.

“It is an Israeli interest to stop Iranian entrenchment in the region and strengthen relationship with Gulf countries,” said Katz, as reported by the paper Yedioth Ahronoth. “Israel is part of the US-led coalition to protect trade routes in the Persian Gulf.”

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Source: maritime-executive.com

China might escort ships in Gulf under U.S. proposal – envoy

Persian Gulf/SoH

By Alexander Cornwell

DUBAI (Reuters) – China might escort Chinese commercial vessels in Gulf waters under a U.S. proposal for a maritime coalition to secure oil shipping lanes following attacks on tankers, its envoy to the United Arab Emirates said on Tuesday.

“If there happens to be a very unsafe situation we will consider having our navy escort our commercial vessels,” Ambassador Ni Jian told Reuters in Abu Dhabi.

“We are studying the U.S. proposal on Gulf escort arrangements,” China’s embassy later said in a text message.

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Source: euronews.com

UK to join US-led taskforce in Gulf to protect merchant ships

Persian Gulf/SoH

The Royal Navy will join a US-led taskforce to protect merchant ships travelling in the Gulf.

The move comes amid growing tensions between the two western powers and Iran over the shipping route in the Strait of Hormuz.

Iranian forces seized British-flagged vessel Stena Impero last month, while the US has tightened sanctions on Iran.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the new maritime taskforce would give “reassurance for shipping”.

But it goes against plans laid out by his predecessor, Jeremy Hunt, for a European-led mission in the area.

The UK government confirmed last month that it would provide a Royal Navy escort, from warships HMS Duncan and HMS Montrose, for British-flagged ships passing through the strait.

The Ministry of Defence said the new mission would involve the same warships.

The US has also committed two warships to the mission, as well as aerial surveillance.

Washington has re-imposed – and latterly tightened – its own sanctions on Iran, after withdrawing from a 2015 deal to limit the country’s nuclear activities.

The UK and other European countries remain committed to the plan, but diplomatic tensions have been strained in recent months – increasing after the seizure of the Stena Impero.

Mr Raab said the UK’s decision to join the US-led mission did not change its commitment to the nuclear deal and that the government was working to “de-escalate the situation” in the Gulf.

Announcing the new mission, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the UK was “determined to ensure shipping is protected from unlawful threats”.

He added: “Upholding international maritime law and freedom of passage is in all our interests.

“We are seeing, across our seas and oceans, too many incidents that seek to challenge such freedoms.”

Source: bbc.co.uk

Russia Submits Persian Gulf Security Plan to UN

Russia’s concept of collective security in the Persian Gulf has been distributed as an official document approved by the United Nations.

“In the current conditions, energetic and effective action is needed at an international and regional level in the interests of improving and further stabilizing the situation in the Persian Gulf, overcoming the prolonged crisis stage and turning this sub-region to peace, good neighborly relations and sustainable development,” the document said, TASS reported.

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Source: english.almanar.com.lb

Iran asks China for support as Royal Navy warship arrives in the Gulf

Persian Gulf/SoH

Senior Chinese politician told UK and USA are ‘fanning flames of war’ during visit to Tehran

By Max Channon

Iran has reportedly  asked China for its support in the Gulf, as Royal Navy Type 45  Destroyer HMS Duncan arrived in the region.

The state – which seized a British-flagged tanker in retaliation for a UK operation involving Royal Marines from Plymouth which saw an Iranian tanker  seized near Gibraltar earlier this month –  has also condemned UK calls for a European-led naval mission to escort tankers in the Gulf.

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Source: plymouthherald.co.uk

Iran says European fleet would be ‘provocative’

Persian Gulf/SoH

By AMIR HAVASI

Britain planning joint force to escort tankers through Strait of Hormuz after seizure of UK-flagged vessel

Iran on Sunday slammed as “provocative” a British proposal for a European-led naval mission to escort tankers in the Gulf, amid soaring tensions over the seizure of ships.

“We heard that they intend to send a European fleet to the Persian Gulf, which naturally carries a hostile message, is provocative and will increase tensions,” said government spokesman Ali Rabiei.

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Source: asiatimes.com