June 21, 2004
TEHRAN, Iran - Iran confiscated three British military vessels Monday and arrested eight armed crew members, state-run television reported.
The three British ships entered Iranian territorial waters not far from the Iran-Iraq border, the Arabic language Al-Alam television reported. The station is part of the state-run Iranian radio and television network.
"Iranian forces confiscated the ships and eight military personnel on board," the report said.
The television report said crew members were carrying maps and weapons. It also said the ships were confiscated at about 11 a.m. (0630 GMT) between the Bahmanshir and Arvand rivers, which would put them in the Shatt al-Arab waterway east of the Iraqi city of Faw. The broadcast gave no further details.
In London, the Ministry of Defense said it was investigating the report but did not know if it was true.
The ministry said there were no British warships operating in the Shatt al-Arab waterway but some smaller vessels were there.
"We are assisting the Iraqi water police there so it may be one of those vessels," a spokesman said on condition of anonymity. "We don't know."