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28 Jul, 2019 18:00

UK deploys additional warship to Persian Gulf to ensure ‘safe passage’ of its vessels

UK deploys additional warship to Persian Gulf to ensure ‘safe passage’ of its vessels

A Royal Navy destroyer, the HMS Duncan, arrived in the Persian Gulf, joining another ship to “support the safe passage of British-flagged ships.” The move comes as the UK calls for a joint EU flotilla to counter Iran.

The vessel arrived in the troubled waters on Sunday, joining the British frigate HMS Montrose, which has been escorting UK-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz. The deployment follows the seizure of UK oil tanker Stena Impero by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps over alleged violation of maritime rules.

Iran’s move was prompted by the UK’s own hostile actions, which Iran condemned as outright “piracy.” Early in July, Britain captured a large tanker carrying Iranian crude near Gibraltar – the Panama-flagged vessel Grace 1.

London accused Tehran of violating EU sanctions and carrying oil to fuel-strapped Syria. While the sanctions have been in place for a long time, the capture of the Grace 1 was the first under this pretext.

The ongoing tensions in the Gulf prompted the US and UK to announce the formation of multinational maritime patrols to protect Western shipping traffic. London has tried to drag other European nations into the standoff with Iran and called for the creation of a joint European fleet to patrol the area.

Iran has long insisted that it is able to “secure” the Strait of Hormuz by itself, and foreign navies swarming in the region only contribute to the escalating tensions.

“Iran will use its best efforts to secure the region, particularly the Strait of Hormuz, and will not allow any disturbance in shipping in this sensitive area,” Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi said on Tuesday.

Also on rt.com Deploying joint European fleet to Persian Gulf sends ‘hostile message’ – Tehran

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