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dire straits
July 19, 2019

Iran has seized a British-flagged oil tanker and a Liberian-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, it said via state TV on Friday.

The Stena Impero, of the U.K., was heading to Saudi Arabia in international waters when it "was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter," the ship's owner and manager said via a Friday statement. They soon lost contact with the 23 people onboard the ship and the Stena Impero started heading northward toward Iran, though no injuries have been reported, the statement continued.

Iranian state TV reported that the country's Revolutionary Guard had seized the ship for "violating international regulations," CNN reports. Soon after, U.S. officials told CNN that they learned via maritime intelligence reports that Iran had seized a Liberian-flagged tanker as well.

The British seizure comes just hours after a British court decided to continue detaining an Iranian oil tanker that allegedly breached European sanctions on Syria, The Wall Street Journal notes. On Thursday, President Trump also announced the U.S. downed an Iranian drone that had come too close to the U.S.S. Boxer in the Strait of Hormuz. President Trump said America's ship was in international waters, but Iran has since disputed that, with its state-run media saying all its drones returned to their bases at the end of Thursday. Kathryn Krawczyk

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