Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Five Britons on racing yacht detained in Iran

Five sailors from the UK have been detained in Iran after their racing yacht was stopped by the Iranian navy, the Foreign Office have said.

The racing yacht — the Kingdom Of Bahrain, owned by Sail Bahrain and crewed by the five Britons, was stopped by Iranian naval vessels last Wednesday as it sailed from Bahrain to Dubai. The crew members are still in Iran and are understood to be safe and well. Their families have been informed.

The five have been named as David Bloomer, Oliver Smith, Oliver Young, Sam Usher and Luke Porter.

The Foreign Office said the yacht might have “inadvertently” strayed into Iranian waters.

The sailors were heading to Dubai to join the Dubai-Muscat Offshore Sailing Race.

The detention of the sailors will further raise tensions between Iran and the West.

The country has come under increasing pressure in response to its plans to build 10 new nuclear fuel plants.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband said that officials had contacted their Iranian counterparts as soon as they became aware of the situation.

“FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) officials immediately contacted the Iranian authorities in London and in Tehran on the evening of November 25, both to seek clarification and to try and resolve the matter swiftly,” he said.

“Our ambassador in Tehran has raised the issue with the Iranian foreign ministry and we have discussed the matter with the Iranian embassy in London.

“I hope this issue will soon be resolved.”

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