LONDON (CBS News) — Britain’s foreign secretary said Iranian authorities seized two vessels Friday in the Strait of Hormuz, actions signaling an escalation in the strategic waterway that has become a flashpoint in tensions between Tehran and the West.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said one of the seized ships was British-flagged and the other sailed under Liberia’s flag. The crews members comprise a range of nationalities but are not believed to include British citizens, he said.

“These seizures are unacceptable,” Hunt said entering an emergency government meeting to discuss securing the release of the two vessels and their crews. “It is essential that freedom of navigation is maintained and that all ships can move safely and freely in the region.”

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