Iran reiterated last weekend that it will pursue a “toll” on all ships travelling in the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian lawmakers demanded that each vessel in the strait pay a fee for safe passage just 48 hours after Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commandos in black ski masks rappelled from a helicopter onto a British oil tanker and took control of the vessel. The ship, the STENA IMPERO, and its 23 crew members remained in detention at an Iranian port Sunday as the West scrambled to figure out how to respond to Tehran’s latest provocation.
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA) and the Asian Shipowners' Association (ASA) jointly urge immediate action by the international community to stop the escalation of tensions and fully respect international law. Guy Platten, ICS Secretary General, commented that Freedom of Navigation is vital for global trade and is a fundamental principle of international maritime law. Seafarers and ships must be allowed to operate in safety, and it is simply not acceptable for them to be used as bargaining counters in any way.