Irish man among sailors held by Iran

A Bahrain-based radio presenter believed to be from Malahide is among five sailors being held captive in Iran after their yacht was stopped by the Iranian navy as it sailed from Bahrain to Dubai.

David Bloomer, said to be in his 60s, holds dual Irish and British nationality and was believed to be travelling on a British passport, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

The other four men are Oliver Smith, 31, from Southampton, Oliver Young, 21, from Plymouth, Sam Usher, and Luke Porter, 21.

The families of all five men today spoke of their concern after reports suggested the crew faced “serious” action if found to have had “evil intentions”.

The Kingdom Of Bahrain racing yacht, owned by Sail Bahrain, was stopped by the Iranian navy last Wednesday as it sailed from Bahrain to Dubai to join the 360-mile Dubai-Muscat Offshore Sailing Race which was due to start last Thursday.

Mr Bloomer was due to broadcast updates on the yacht’s progress in the race.

Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaie, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s head of staff, told the country’s Fars news agency: “Judiciary will decide about the five ... naturally our measures will be hard and serious if we find out they had evil intentions.”

The UK Foreign Office said it was looking into the reports.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband said there was “no confrontation or argument” in negotiations with Iran.

"These are five civilians. They are yachtsmen," he told the BBC.

“It seems they may have strayed inadvertently into Iranian waters. We look forward to the Iranian government dealing with this promptly.”

He said he was awaiting a statement from the Iranian government on the matter but stressed there was no dispute.

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