Denmark, France and Italy support the European-led mission to protect ships in the Strait of Hormuz
Denmark joined France and Italy in a European-led mission to protect ships in the Strait of Hormuz after Britain came up with the idea of seizing an oil tanker under the British flag.
Iran has threatened to disrupt shipping through the strait – causing one fifth of the world's oil to pass every day – while trying to put pressure on European powers to find a solution to American sanctions.
It is after the US has called on NATO allies to form an international coalition to protect shipping in the area that largely fell on deaf ears.
Jeppe Kofod, Denmark's Foreign Minister, said the country looks & # 39; positive & # 39; to the mission after it was also supported by France and Italy. Denmark is one of & # 39; s most important seafaring countries in the world and hosts the largest shipping company – A.P. Moller-Maersk – sailing in the Strait
Britain launched the idea of a Europe-led mission in the Strait after Iranian troops seized the British flag Stena Impero in the Gulf last week
& # 39; The Danish government is looking forward to a possible contribution to such an initiative & # 39 ;, said Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod in a statement. & # 39; The initiative will have a strong European footprint & # 39 ;.
The background contrasts with a lukewarm response from European allies to a similar US call that was first expressed at the end of June on NATO, which was resisted by France and Germany.
They feared that the US-led military alliance would be dragged into a possible confrontation with Iran.
EU member Denmark is one of & # 39; the world's largest seafaring countries and home to & # 39; the world's largest container ship company A. P. Moller-Maersk, which operates in the high-voltage area.
& # 39; The Royal Danish Navy is strong and capable and could actively and effectively contribute to this kind of engagement, & quot; & quot; the Danish defense minister Trine Bramsen.
A final decision should still be discussed in parliament.
Elsewhere on Friday, Iran freed nine Indian crew members from a Panama flag tanker seized on July 14, the Indian Foreign Ministry said Friday.
The MT Riah was accused of contraband contraband when he was detained by Iran amid increasing tensions between the Iranian government and Britain and the United States over shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.
12 Indian crew members were aboard the ship when it was seized south of Larak Island in Iran.
The release leaves 21 other Indians in Iranian custody, including three others from the MT Riah and 18 from the British flag Stena Impero, who were captured by Iranian forces last week.
Iran's revolutionary guard claimed that the MT Riah smuggled a million liters of fuel.
They said in a statement: & # 39; A foreign ship has been seized and smuggled a million liters of fuel on the Lark island of the Persian Gulf. & # 39;
The Revolutionary Guards of Iran seized the ship and claimed that the MT Riah smuggled a million liters of fuel
12 Indian crew members were aboard the ship when it was seized south of Larak Island in Iran
MT Riah disappeared on July 14 from trackers in Iranian territorial waters.
The ship disappeared when his transponder was turned off in the Strait of Hormuz.
The Stena Impero and its 23 crew members have been seized in the southern port of Bandar Abbas for alleged violation of & # 39; international maritime rules & # 39 ;. The ship forms the core of the confrontation between Iran and Great Britain.
Apart from the 18 Indians, there are three Russians, one Latvian and one Filipino on the ship.
India announced on Thursday that its diplomats in Iran had gained access to the crew of Stena Impero.
& # 39; All 18 Indian crew members on board are safe and doing well. "Will continue to insist on their early release," said Foreign Minister V Muraleedharan on Twitter.
Images of the ship that was released by Iran on Monday showed that a number of Indian crew members were chatting and smiling around a table. Two members could be seen cooking in the ship's kitchen.
Iran has hinted that it is open to swap the Stena Impero for an Iranian ship, Grace 1, detained in Gibraltar allegedly transporting Iranian oil to Syria in violation of international sanctions.
The release of the prisoners comes as it was revealed yesterday that the Stena Impero made a sudden turn to Iran and then & # 39; dark & # 39; before the radio channel was switched off.
Iran's Revolutionary Guard stepped aboard the Stena Impero as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz on Friday.
Data from his AIS, or automatic identification system, showed that the vessel – which was empty at that time – went to Saudi Arabia on its planned course before being intercepted.
The red arrow indicates that the Stena Impero suddenly turns away from its course as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz on Friday
The British flagship then suddenly left for Iran. It is thought that this was when the crew tried to dodge the Iranian Revolutionary Guards
The tanker under the British flag was followed before he suddenly made a U-turn towards Iran and then seemed to disappear from the radar about an hour later.
The satellite images are thought to show the ship just before it was boarded by Iranian forces before it disappeared.
The Impero tries to see how he tries to evade helicopters full of commands from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) while maneuvering sharply to the Qesham Islands.
AIS tracking systems were then disabled and the ship did not reappear on satellite images.
TankerTrackers.com, an independent online service that monitors and reports crude oil shipments and storage, relies on MarineTraffic data, published images with the latest known movements of the ship before it was captured.
Samir Madani, who runs the site, said the beacon of the ship was probably turned off by the edge of the boat – a common practice among Iranian crews when crossing the waters of the Islamic Republic.
He told Wired: & # 39; They tried to dodge by making a U-turn to the east lanes (from the strait).
& # 39; And when they entered the Iranian waters, they approached the Qesham Islands, their AIS transponder was disabled.
& # 39; It is the rule rather than the exception – they switch it off when they visit Iran, and they switch it off (AIS) during transport. & # 39;
Other ships passing the Strait, one of the busiest in the world, can also be seen in the satellite images.
In the 24 hours around the time that Iran had captured the ship, 441 different ships passed through the Strait, according to MarineTraffic which provides real-time information about ship movements.
The Stena Impero continued its journey to the Qesham Islands before its tracking device was turned off about an hour after it had deviated from the intended course
The day after the ship was seized, individual satellite images recorded the Stena Impero outside the nearby naval port in Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf
A broadcast by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) on Monday showed the crew of the British tanker after it was seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps
The day after the Impero was seized, another satellite system was used to track where the ship was being taken.
With the help of Planet Labs, TankerTrackers.com was able to trace the ship to the nearby naval port in Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf where it was being held.
Stena Bulk, the ship's owner, said it first contacted the crew of 23 since the capture five days ago last night.
The company said the ship's captain advised & # 39; that everyone was safe with good cooperation with Iranian personnel on board & # 39 ;.
The crew is mainly Indian, but also includes Filipino, Russian and Latvian citizens. The Iranian state TV earlier this week broadcast video of the crew aboard the ship from the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas and said they & # 39; are safe & # 39; goods.
The president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, proposed today that Iran could release the ship under the British flag if Britain took similar steps to an Iranian oil tanker seized earlier this month by the British Royal Navy for Gibraltar, to release.
A member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard aboard the tanker broadcast on the state television of Iran
Iranian Revolutionary Guards in speed boats patrolling the Stena Impero, because it is anchored in the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas
President Hassan Rouhani suggested that Iran could release the ship if Britain took similar steps to have an Iranian oil tanker seized by the British Royal Navy near Gibraltar earlier this month
His remarks can create an opening to reduce tensions as Boris Johnson becomes prime minister. It is unclear how the new government will respond to Rouhani's suggestion or the impasse with Iran.
A wave of incidents in recent weeks has threatened security in the Strait of Hormuz, which lies between Iran and Oman.
Tensions have also increased following President Donald Trump's decision last year to withdraw from the nuclear deal and impose maximum sanctions on Iran.
In recent weeks, Iran has shot down an American spy hunter, US officials say military cyber forces have hit Iranian computer systems handling rocket and rocket launchers, and six oil tankers have been sabotaged near the strait.
Iranian officials on Wednesday reiterated their denial that all Iranian drones were being intercepted after the US military said Tuesday it was aiming for two of the vessel last week.
The Strait is governed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and 1982 offers the only passage from the Persian Gulf to the open ocean.
A fifth of crude oil traded worldwide passes the Strait of Hormuz, making it an internationally important point for the global energy supply of Gulf exporters.
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