EuropeMiddle EastOperationsTankers

Iran’s president vows to deny UK ships access to Strait of Hormuz

The United Kingdom cannot use the Strait of Hormuz for as long as Iran is denied passage through the Strait of Gibraltar, Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday.

“Security for security, peace for peace, strait for strait. The Strait of Hormuz cannot be opened for you [the United Kingdom] while Gibraltar is closed to us,” Rouhani said yesterday.

The Grace 1, an Iranian VLCC, was detained off Gibraltar on July 4, accused of heading to sanctions-bound Syria. In reply, Iran captured a UK-flagged ship, Stena Impero, a fortnight later.

Stena Bulk yesterday labelled the 19-day detainment of its product tanker Stena Impero and its 23 crew as “unacceptable and unjustifiable”. The ship was seized on July 19.

Erik Hanell, president and CEO of the Swedish company, said: “We are maintaining limited communication with the crew onboard and although they remain in good health considering the circumstances, we continue to be concerned about their welfare given the amount of time they have been in confinement.”

With Britain being targeted by Iran, a host of shipowners are rushing to reflag their UK-registered ships, hitting the Red Ensign registry that had already suffered a tough Brexit-related year with around a third of its fleet moving to other destinations.

With tensions high in the Strait of Hormuz after a string of tanker attacks and seizures, China yesterday indicated it might be willing to join a US-led international naval coalition in the region, something the UK has confirmed it will join. Israel is also looking like it will join the naval mission with Australia tipped to sign up too.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. It is not Hormuz strait vs Gibraltar strait , but western campaign to add more pressure / siege on Iran..

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