Security sources say MI6 and GCHQ are now investigating whether Russian and Iranian intelligence sent fake signals to the Stena Impero. Sources said that investigators will look into whether there is a technological footprint or whether western spy planes in the area picked up any suspicious activity, according to The Sunday Mirror. A western security source said: “Russia has the technology to spoof GPS and may have helped Iran in this venture as it was extremely brazen.
“It would make British shipping extremely vulnerable and will be of grave concern to Royal Navy warships in the region.
“The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Russian intelligence have worked very closely in Syria, protecting and promoting their interests.”
Russia’s alleged involvement could only have been given the go-ahead by its President Vladimir Putin.
It comes after Russian spooks learnt they have the ability to fool ships into false locations.
The British tanker could have thought it was at a safe distance from Iranian waters before straying off course.
A report in April found 10,000 incidents of spoofing ships into false locations by Russia.
The Centre for Advanced Defence said most the incidents in the 12-month period had involved ships but some were also spotted around airports.
The former head of the Royal Navy Admiral Lord West, demanded convoys be deployed to support ships travelling through the Gulf to stop Iran seeing more vessels.
He said: “If Iranian ships try to attack them you sink them. They are the ones who have escalated things by attacking one of our merchant ships.”
The tanker was seized on Friday with a video showing the operation being released on Saturday by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard which showed the moment it was captured.
A helicopter hovered above the area with six soldiers wearing balaclavas abseiling onto the deck armed with machine guns.
Several speedboats surrounded the tanker which was captured on film – suggesting the whole thing was a trap laid by Tehran.
A defence source said a Royal Navy warship had been called into the area but unfortunately arrived just 10 minutes too late.
By the time they arrived, the tanker had already been steered into Iranian waters.