DUBAI (Reuters) – UK-flagged supertanker Pacific Voyager which halted in the Gulf on Saturday is “safe and well”, a British official told Reuters, after Iran dismissed reports its Revolutionary Guards had seized the vessel.
A Revolutionary Guards commander on Friday had threatened to seize a British ship in retaliation for the capture by Royal Marines of Iranian supertanker Grace 1 in Gibraltar.
The Pacific Voyager stopped in the Gulf en route to Saudi Arabia from Singapore before resuming its course, Refinitiv Eikon mapping showed.
It stopped as part of a routine procedure to adjust its arrival time at its next port, an official at UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) told Reuters.
The UKMTO, which coordinates shipping in the Gulf, had been in contact with the tanker, the official said.
On Saturday an Iranian cleric said Britain should be “scared” about Tehran’s possible retaliation for the seizure of the Grace 1, the Fars semi-official news agency reported.
“I am openly saying that Britain should be scared of Iran’s retaliatory measures over the illegal seizure of the Iranian oil tanker,” said Mohammad Ali Mousavi Jazayeri, a member of the Assembly of Experts clerical body.
Tensions are high in the Gulf following last month’s attacks on vessels near the Strait of Hormuz, a vital oil shipping route, and Iran’s downing of a U.S. drone. Washington and Saudi Arabia have directly blamed Iran for the attacks on tankers, something Tehran denies.
The attacks have raised fears of a broader confrontation in the region where the United States has boosted its military presence over perceived Iranian threats.
Reporting by Sylvia Westall, Eric Knecht and Parisa Hafezi; editing by Jason Neely