Tehran/London: A recording has emerged of radio exchanges between a Royal Navy frigate and Iranian armed forces vessels, moments before a British-flagged oil tanker was seized in the Gulf. In the recording, what is thought to be an Iranian vessel can be heard telling HMS Montrose, it wants to inspect the tanker for security reasons, reported the BBC. The Stena Impero was boarded by Iranian authorities on Friday. The tanker has 23 crew members of Indian, Russian, Latvian and Filipino nationalities aboard.
The Foreign Secretary has urged Iran to reverse the tanker's "illegal" seizure. In the radio recording, which was obtained by the British maritime security firm Dryad Global, the Iranian vessel can be heard telling a ship - thought to be the Stena Impero to change its course, saying: "If you obey you will be safe." HMS Montrose then identifies itself and tells the Stena Impero: "As you are conducting transit passage in a recognised international strait, under international law your passage must not be impaired, impeded, obstructed or hampered." The frigate then asks the Iranian vessel to confirm it is not "intending to violate international law" by attempting to board the tanker.