Iran Focus: London, Mar. 23 – The United States Naval Forces Central Command (U.S. Fifth Fleet) issued a statement on the capture of 15 British Navy and Marine personnel by Iranian Revolutionary Guards on Friday. The following is the full text of the statement: Iran Focus
London, Mar. 23 – The United States Naval Forces Central Command (U.S. Fifth Fleet) issued a statement on the capture of 15 British Navy and Marine personnel by Iranian Revolutionary Guards on Friday. The following is the full text of the statement:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Release #: 071-07
Iran Seizes British Naval Personnel
At approximately 10:30 a.m. Iraqi time March 23, 15 British naval personnel, engaged in routine boarding operations of merchant shipping in Iraqi territorial waters in support of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1723 and the government of Iraq, were seized by Iranian naval vessels.
The boarding party had completed a successful inspection of a merchant ship when they and their two boats were surrounded and escorted by Iranian vessels into Iranian territorial waters.
The British government is pursuing this matter with the Iranian authorities at the highest level and on the instructions of the British Foreign Secretary, the Iranian ambassador was summoned to the British Foreign Office. The British Government is demanding the immediate and safe return of their people and equipment.
Royal Navy forces operate as part of Combined Task Force 158. CTF 158s mission is to maintain security and stability in Iraqi territorial waters and to protect the Iraqi oil terminals, under the U.N. mandate set out in the Security Council Resolutions on Iraq.
CTF 158 is currently commanded by Royal Navy Commodore Nick Lambert and operates as one of three coalition task forces in the Combined Maritime Forces under the leadership of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. Fifth Fleet, Vice Adm. Kevin Cosgriff.