Bri­tish war­ship ar­rives in Gulf re­gion to es­cort tankers

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

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

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