Royal Navy ‘to escort all UK ships in the Gulf’ amid rising tensions

Royal Navy ‘to escort all UK ships in the Gulf’ amid rising tensions


The Royal Navy will protect all British-flagged ships from attacks by Iran as they pass through the Strait of Hormuz, the Government claims.

The bold pledge on Boris Johnson ’s first full day as PM overturns last week’s stance by defence bosses that we have too few ships to carry this out.

It is believed the Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose, al­­ready on escort duty, will stay in the region after the Type 25 destroyer HMS Duncan arrives on Monday.

We also have four minesweepers in the area and another frigate, HMS Kent, is expected in a few weeks.

The build-up comes after Iran’s seizure last Friday of the British-flag­­ged Stena Impero .

It was seen as re­­­venge for the UK impounding a sanctions-busting tanker en route to the Islamic state.

The previous government advised UK vessels not to transit Hormuz but yesterday a spokesman said: “The Navy has been tasked to accompany Brit­ish-flagged ships through the Strait, individually or in groups.”

Ships carrying British flags are not necessarily British-owned but operate under the laws of the country of the flag it carries- making the Iranian seizure largely a British responsibility.

The announcement also comes as Johnson claimed he wants to boost defence spending – a claim that follows almost a decade of brutal cuts by his Tory colleagues to our military budgets.

After last week’s seizure the previous government advised British-flagged vessels not to pass through the Strait of Hormuz.

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