British oil tanker anchors off Saudi Arabian coast amid fears of Iranian retaliation

The Iranian regime has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, the channel the British Heritage would need to sail through to leave the Arabian Gulf. (AFP/File Photo)
Updated 09 July 2019

British oil tanker anchors off Saudi Arabian coast amid fears of Iranian retaliation

  • The ship British Heritage, run by oil company BP, has dropped anchor off the coast of Saudi Arabia
  • The tanker was sailing toward Basrah terminal in Iraq when ship tracking showed it performed a U-turn

LONDON: A British oil tanker has halted its journey through the Strait of Hormuz for fear of being seized by Iran in response to the capture of a ship by UK forces last week.
The ship British Heritage, run by oil company BP, has dropped anchor off the coast of Saudi Arabia inside the Arabian Gulf, Bloomberg reported.
The tanker was sailing toward Basrah terminal in Iraq when ship tracking showed it performed a U-turn within 40 kilometers of the port on Saturday.
The ship, which can carry 1 million barrels of oil, is now anchored off the eastern coast of the Kingdom.
The vessel is flying under the British flag and had been chartered by Royal Dutch Shell to transport crude from Basrah to northwest Europe, Bloomberg reported. It didn’t collect that cargo and the booking was canceled.
The report said BP fears the ship could become a target of Iranian forces seeking to retaliate for the seizing by British Royal Marines of the Grace 1 last week off the coast of Gibraltar. BP refused to comment on the status of the British Heritage when contacted by Arab News.
The UK said the Iranian tanker Grace 1 was attempting to deliver Iranian oil to Syria via the Mediterranean in breach of international sanctions.
Tehran called the seizure of its tanker “an act of piracy” and a former Revolutionary Guard chief said Iran should seize a British ship in response.
The Iranian regime has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, the channel the British Heritage would need to sail through to leave the Arabian Gulf. The narrow waterway, which is a conduit for about a fifth of the world’s crude oil supplies, forces vessels to sail close to the Iranian coast.
Iran has received international condemnation after the US said Tehran was responsible for a string of attacks on vessels in the waters off the UAE and Oman.


Algerian court jails protesters over election

Updated 19 November 2019

Algerian court jails protesters over election

ALGIERS: An Algerian court has jailed four protesters for 18 months for disrupting a candidate’s campaign for the Dec. 12 presidential election which is opposed by a mass protest movement.
The court sentenced the four on Monday after protests on Sunday in the western city of Tlemcen, where one of the five candidates, Ali Benflis, was campaigning. No details were available on what their exact actions were.
Algeria’s authorities are trying to quell a protest movement that erupted in February to demand the departure of the country’s ruling hierarchy, an end to corruption and the army’s withdrawal from politics.
The army, which has emerged as the most powerful institution in the country, has pushed for next month’s election as a means to end the protests and restore normality. The former president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, quit in April.
The judgment comes a week after a series of other prison sentences were handed down to protesters who had raised flags with Berber symbols during earlier demonstrations.
Several opposition leaders have also been held during the protests, and charged with contributing to damaging army morale.
However, the authorities have also detained numerous current and former senior officials on corruption charges, and have jailed some of them including the once untouchable former intelligence chief.
The protesters have rejected any presidential election carried out now, saying the continued presence of Bouteflika allies in the upper echelons of the government mean it cannot be free or fair.
Human Rights Watch said last week that the arrest of scores of protesters looked like “part of a pattern of trying to weaken opposition to Algeria’s interim rulers and their determination to hold presidential elections.”