By Lydia O'Kane
The Catholic charity Apostleship of the Sea, has voiced concern for the safety of seafarers navigating vessels in the Gulf.
It comes after a second tanker and its seven crew was seized north of the Strait of Hormuz for allegedly smuggling fuel.
Tanker traffic through the Strait has become a focus for an increasingly tense standoff between Washington and Tehran.
The tensions stem from US President Donald Trump's decision last year to withdraw the U.S. from Iran's 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers and impose sanctions on the country.
Britain was also drawn into the standoff when the British flagged tanker, the ‘Stena Impero’, was seized for alleged marine violations.
Little is known about the latest vessel to be seized, such as the nationally of the crew, or the flag it is sailing under.
John Green, Director of Development for the Apostleship of the Sea, said that they are extremely concerned for the welfare of the crew on board these ships. He also added, that the rights of these crew members must be respected.
Mr Green noted that this latest seizure will add stress and anxiety to all seafarers navigating the region. “Other seafarers certainly in the region will be wondering, if we’re going through this particular stretch of waters could the same thing happen to us.” He also said situations like these would have a huge effect on seafarer’s families.
Recently, the charity published guidance on what to do when facing criminal charges or an investigation by the authorities.
“We looked at what advice we could give to somebody who was arrested or detained in any foreign jurisdiction and this really is based on the international convention on fair treatment of individuals”, said Green.
Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea), is the largest charity in the world providing welfare support to seafarers in over 330 ports around the world as well as supporting seafarers’ families.