Iran accused of piracy after seizing tankers with helicopter and speedboats

Iran has been accused of piracy after armed Revolutionary Guards used a helicopter and speedboats to seize two Greek oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.

Iranian forces boarded Delta Poseidon and Prudent Warrior in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday afternoon in an apparent Hollywood-style revenge plot for the capture of a Russian-flagged tanker loaded with Iranian oil last month.

Armed guards seized the Delta Posedion loaded with goods for Agioi Theodoroi's Motor Oil refinery in front of Asalouyeh port, claiming it was violating maritime rules.

The Greek Foreign Ministry said an Iranian helicopter landed on the tanker with "armed men capturing the ship's crew" which reportedly included two Greek citizens. The vessel had been sailing in international waters at the time before being directed towards the Iranian coast.

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Prudent Warrior had been carrying oil bound for the US and 24 Greeks and Filipinos were on board.

George Vakirtzis, chief executive of Polembros Shipping, which operates the Prudent Warrior, told the Financial Times: "We lost all communication about 2 o'clock local time and tried to talk to the vessel repeatedly with no answer. We asked other vessels in the same area to give us the position of the vessel. They told us that a helicopter and two speedboats had reached our vessel.

"It's a seizure and a diplomatic situation and we're in the middle."

Greek authorities described the seizures as "tantamount to acts of piracy".

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Iran seized a British oil tanker and raided a second in the Strait of Hormuz in 2019.

The British-flagged Swedish tanker was lacked tracked going to the Revolutionary Guard base at Qeshm.

A second oil tanker, the British-operated, Liberian-flagged Mesdar, turned sharply north towards Iran's coast on Friday afternoon after passing westwards through the Strait of Hormuz into the Gulf.

It was searched by armed Iranian guards but later released to continue its voyage, manager Norbulk Shipping UK said.

Then Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt confirmed there were no Brits on either vessel and branded the raid and seizure "unacceptable".

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