British yacht crew of five detained in Iran

Mon Nov 30, 2009 7:21pm EST
 
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By Avril Ormsby

LONDON (Reuters) - Five Britons have been detained in Iran after their racing yacht may have inadvertently strayed into Iranian waters, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said on Monday.

The yacht was stopped by Iranian naval vessels on November 25, he said in a statement. Race organizers said the vessel had reported problems with a propeller en route from Bahrain to Dubai.

The Volvo 60 class yacht, called Kingdom of Bahrain and owned by the Sail Bahrain project launched by the Team Pindar sailing team, was due to have reached Dubai on November 26 to take part in a 360-mile Dubai-Muscat race, local media said last week.

British television identified the five sailors as Oliver Smith, Sam Usher, Oliver Young, Luke Porter and David Bloomer.

Race organizer Louay Habib told BBC radio from Dubai: "The shore crew for Team Pindar Kingdom of Bahrain contacted us on the 25th of November in the afternoon here, reporting that they had problems with their propeller.

"There was no wind at the time and they told us they were organizing for a tow to come and get them."

Habib said the yacht had no tracking device and at the time of the call was about 60 miles from Dubai and 20 miles from Iranian waters.

Miliband said the five were still in Iran and were understood to be safe and well and their families had been informed.   Continued...

 
<p>An Iranian boat takes part in naval maneuvers in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman April 6, 2006. REUTERS/IRNA</p>