We were treated well by Iranian authorities

We were treated well by Iranian authorities

The five British sailors who were freed by Iranian authorities said they were treated kindly during their detention.

By Moni Mathews And Martin Croucher

Published: Thu 3 Dec 2009, 1:41 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 9:26 AM

Speaking at a Press conference at the Dubai International Marine Centre on Wednesday night, Oliver Smith, a 31-year-old crew member said: “We made the mistake of straying into Iranian territory while on our way to Dubai from Bahrain for the Dubai Muscat Sailing Race.”

“The initial days were slightly difficult for everyone concerned but when the authoritiesas time passed and when they were convinced of our real intentions, they (authorities) became more relaxed and open with us,” added Smith, whose teammates included Luke Porter, 21, Oliver Young, 21, Sam Usher, 26 and Bahrain-based David Bloomer, the oldest at 60.

“We had a broken propeller to make things worse. But we were treated well and were looked after by the Iranian officials after the early questioning session. In fac,t after the two first days our room was kept open,” Smith said.

Keith Mutch, chairman of Dubai Offshore Sailing Club, who was in contact with the support team of the vessel throughout their journey to Dubai, said he was relieved that the sailors had made it back safely.

“It’s been a gruelling few days, but its a relief to have them arrive safely,” he said.

Spokesman for the UK Embassy, Simon Goldsmith, said “We were only aware of them arriving by 6.30pm. They’ve been through a tough experience and all of them are looking forward to relaxing now.”

The yacht had been heading to join the 360-mile (580-kilometre) Dubai-Muscat event which began on November 26. The race went ahead without the yacht.

· news@khaleejtimes.com

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