Sailors' release confirmed

Five sailors including an Irish journalist detained after their yacht apparently strayed into Iranian waters have been released, the British Foreign Office confirmed today.

News of the release – reported earlier by Iranian state media – was confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran, said the Foreign Office in a statement.

It is understood that the yachtsmen are being towed to international waters.

The Foreign Office statement said: “The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs have confirmed that the five yachtsmen have been released.

“We understand that they are being towed to international waters and will be met by a representative from the sailing company.”

The Kingdom Of Bahrain racing yacht, owned by Sail Bahrain, was stopped by the Iranian navy as it sailed from Bahrain to Dubai last week.

Oliver Smith, 31, from Southampton, Oliver Young, 21, from Saltash, near Plymouth, Sam Usher, 26, from Scarborough, North Yorkshire, Luke Porter, 21, from Weston-super-Mare, and Bahrain-based radio presenter David Bloomer, from Malahide and thought to be in his 60s, were on board.

The crew was heading to Dubai to join the 360-mile Dubai-Muscat Offshore Sailing Race, which was due to start last Thursday.

Race organisers said the sailors may have been “drifting” after experiencing propeller problems.

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