British warship arrives in Gulf region to escort tankers
A British warship dispatched to the Gulf to escort Uk-flagged ships amid heightened tensions with Iran has arrived in the region, the defence ministry said.
HMS Duncan was sent to help accompany vessels through the Strait of Hormuz after Iran seized a Britishflagged tanker there earlier this month, in what London called an act of “state piracy.”
The destroyer joins frigate HMS Montrose which is due to undergo maintenance in nearby Bahrain in late August. It will be replaced by another frigate, HMS Kent, later this year.
Britain has said it wants to establish a European-led maritime protection force in the Gulf to protect vulnerable shipping, while emphasizing it is not seeking a confrontation with Iran.
It has asked Uk-flagged ships to give it notice when they plan to pass through the Strait of Hormuz, with HMS Montrose already having accompanied 35 merchant vessels during 20 separate transits, according to the Royal Navy.
“I’m pleased that HMS Duncan will continue HMS Montrose’s fine work in helping to secure this essential route,” Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement on Sunday.
“While we continue to push for a diplomatic resolution that will make this possible again without military accompaniment, the Royal Navy will continue to provide a safeguard for UK vessels until this is the reality.” wang[email protected] globaltimes.com.cn