British sailors detained, released after yacht accidentally crosses into Iranian waters

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Five British sailors traveling in a yacht in the Persian Gulf were detained and released by Iranian authorities after they accidentally crossed into Iranian waters. The sailors were on their way to a race then they suffered propeller problems and drifted into Iranian waters.

Iranian authorities interrogated the sailors and released them after they found no evidence of "bad intentions." They earlier warned that the sailors would face prosecution if they suspected any wrong doing.

"[There was] certainly no question of any malicious intent on the part of these five young people," stated the Iranian Foreign Ministry to the IRNA. The Revolutionary Guard stated, "after carrying out an investigation and interrogation of the five British sailors, it became clear that their illegal entry was a mistake."

Team Pindar composed of David Bloomer, Luke Porter, Oliver Smith, Oliver Young and Sam Usher, were travelling to the Dubai-Muscat Offshore Sailing Race, a 360-mile (580-kilometer) race when they were arrested on November 25. The race took place on November 26. The sailors were met by team representatives and are being escorted in their yacht out of Iranian waters.

David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary for the UK denies that the unconditional release was not a political move calling it a "human story" and that it had "nothing to do with politics. It's got nothing to do with the nuclear enrichment program."

A similar incident took place in July, but on land. Three American hikers, identified as Shaun Gabriel Maxwell, Shane Bower and Sara Short, were arrested on July 31 in the country after they crossed into Iranian territory. Reports say the hikers accidentally crossed into Iran while hiking between Halabja and Ahmad Awa in the Kurdish Region of Iraq.


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