-- CNN reports that captured British sailors have been released by Iran

CNN reports that captured British sailors have been released by Iran    

'Sail Bahrain was boarded twice off the island of Sirri.'    Google Earth    Click Here to view large photo

CNN is reporting that Iranian news sources are reporting that the five British sailors captured a week ago have been released, by Iranian authorities.

Kingdom of Bahrain, Sail Bahrain’s VO60 -  Sail Bahrain  
The release is believed to have taken place five or six hours ago, although the news is only just being announced.

It is not known where the five crew are being held.

The British Foreign Office has since confirmed the release of the five yachtsmen.

The yacht was formerly owned by Team Pindar, and had Queenstown (NZ) domiciled Nick Crabtree listed as skipper. He was not believed to be aboard for the delivery voyage.

The sailors were captured last Wednesday 25 November after they strayed into Iranian waters en route to Dubai for a yacht race.

Their yacht a VOR60 was boarded twice by the Iranian Guard after they strayed into sea space claimed by Iran as part of its territorial waters off the isalnd of Sirria well out into the Persian Gulf. The crew were initially released but then the Guard realised the diplomatic value of the crew and came back a second time and took them into custody.

The action was not reported worldwide until yesterday, when diplomatic efforts were stepped up and the release, if confirmed, has come within 24 hours.

The incident attracted increased attention as the location is only 30 or so nautical miles from the proposed America's Cup course off Ras al-Khaimah, UAE.

by Richard Gladwell
- 7:04 AM Wed 2 Dec 2009 GMT

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