Five British yachtsmen have been enjoying their first taste of freedom after a week in custody in Iran. They enjoyed a warm welcome in Dubai – their original destination when their racing yacht was intercepted by the Iranian navy. ‘The Kingdom of Bahrain’ had been sailing through the Arabian Gulf to Dubai for a race when she inadvertently strayed into Iran’s waters, near Sirri island, because of a propeller breakdown.
The crew spent a week in custody but said they had been well treated. “The guys on the ground, there, treated us very well,” said skipper Oliver Smith. “Obviously it was a fairly tense situation to start with, certainly in the first couple of days, but the longer we were there and they got to know us, they did relax a little as we went along, and they treated us very well.” Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Miliband welcomed the crew’s release. He said the affair had been dealt with in a “professional and straightforward way by the Iranian authorities.”