- Iran’s state-run IRIB News Agency aired footage of what it says are the crew members of the Stena Impero, the British oil tanker it seized last Friday.
- Videos appear to show several crew members talking in a conference room, inspecting various parts of the ship, and preparing food in a kitchen on board the ship.
- The awkward video appears to be Tehran’s attempts to prove that the 23 crew members on board are in “good health.”
- Earlier on Monday, Iranian state media also aired dramatic footage of its Revolutionary Guard Corps boarding the ship to capture it.
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Iranian state media released an awkward video of what it says are the crew members of the Stena Impero, the British-flagged oil tanker that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps seized last Friday, making food and holding meetings on their ship.
IRIB News Agency on Monday aired footage purporting to show several crew members talking in a conference room, inspecting various parts of the ship, and preparing food in a kitchen on board the tanker.
A spokesman for Stena Bulk – the company that operates Stena Impero – told Business Insider it couldn’t verify the authenticity of the video or confirm that the people in the video were the tanker’s crew.
The BBC reported one uniformed crew member telling others during one conference-room “meeting”: “Don’t look at the camera.”
CNN said the footage “appear[s] to be staged shots.”
The Revolutionary Guard seized two British tankers in the Strait of Hormuz last Friday, but released one of them – the Mesdar – shortly after. The Stena Impero is currently docked at Bandar Bahonar, an anchorage at Bandar Abbas, southern Iran.
Iranian authorities are currently holding the 23 crew members of the Stena Impero on the ship. The crew are a mix of Indian, Filipino, Russian, and Latvian nationals.
Stena Bulk on Saturday also cited the head of marine affairs at Bandar Abbas port as saying that the crew members are in “good health,” and Monday’s video appears to be Iran’s attempt to show they are unharmed.
Earlier on Monday, Iran’s state-run Fars news agency also released dramatic video of the Revolutionary Guard speedboats circling the Stena Impero, and commandos climbing down a rope from a helicopter to board the ship’s deck.
Fars also aired audio of Iranian authorities commanding the vessel to turn around, saying: “If you obey, you will be safe.”
The Strait of Hormuz is a crucial waterway to Iran’s south, sandwiched between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Around one-third of all the world’s seaborne oil is transported through the strait every day.
Stena Bulk on Sunday said it requested to visit the Stena Impero’s crew members at Bandar Abbas, but has not received a formal response.
The UK on Monday said it would deploy a Europe-led “maritime protection mission” to safeguard shipping in the Strait of Hormuz amid rising tensions with Iran.
Jeremy Hunt, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, said Iran must understand that this would mean an increased Western military presence in its region – which Tehran has repeatedly opposed. Hunt added that the European mission was part of the US’s “maximum pressure” diplomacy on Iran.
Watch IRIB’s full video of the crew, published by The Guardian, here:
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