Five British citizens seized as Iran raises stakes

Catherine Philp, Diplomatic Correspondent
and Ed Gorman
The Times [UK]
1 December 2009

Diplomatic tension between Britain and Iran deepened yesterday with the news that Tehran is holding five British sailors after their yacht apparently strayed into Iranian waters.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said that the crew members were taken from their yacht Kingdom of Bahrain on November 25 after she was stopped by Iranian naval vessels while sailing from Bahrain to Dubai.

Sources named the five Britons as Oliver Smith, 31, an experienced sailor from Southampton, as well as Sam Usher, Oliver Young, 21, from Saltash in Cornwall, Luke Porter, 21, from Weston-super-Mare and Dave Bloomer, a presenter on Radio Bahrain. Mr Porter is reported to have spoken to his father Charles yesterday.

Charles Porter, 48, said: “He said he was in good spirits and he said he was being well looked after”. His son told him the yacht had strayed 500 yards into Iranian waters near the island of Sirri.

The Britons were delivering the yacht to the annual Dubai to Muscat race, a 360-mile voyage through the Straits of Hormuz scheduled to begin the following day.

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