Latvian citizen on board of British tanker seized by Iran

Iranian authorities have forbidden communication with a Latvian national, who has been detained during the seizure of a British oil tanker Stena Impero on Friday July 19, according to Latvia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

The ministry noted in a press release that “Taking into account that Latvia does not have its embassy in Iran, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia has requested the involvement of the Embassy of Finland in Teheran in order to ensure consular assistance to the Latvian national detained.”

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkēvičs (New Unity) remarked on Latvian Television on July 21 that the Finnish embassy workers had visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran and asked them to consider the release of the Latvian citizen as soon as possible. “It is clear that the Iranian side is currently investigating an alleged incident between the tanker and a fishing vessel. And it is quite clear that the situation will not be resolved quickly, as geopolitical aspects are at stake,” Rinkēvičs said.

The British-flagged oil tanker “Stena Impero” was seized in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran's Revolutionary Guards' official website Sephanews states that the “Stena Impero” tanker "was confiscated [...] for failing to respect international maritime rules."

On July 20, Sarma Kočāne, Public Relations Specialist of the Latvian Maritime Administration, informed LETA that the Latvian citizen served as senior mate on the tanker.

Rinkēvičs has contacted EU Foreign Affairs Chief Federica Mogherini and British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to agree on coordination and support from the EU External Action Service in securing the release of the Latvian citizen. 

At present, the ministry has no information about the condition of the seamen on board the captured ship. 

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