British Navy Prevents Iran from Seizing Oil Tanker
According to the British Ministry of Defence, British frigate HMS Montrose has intervened in what was apparently an attempt by three Iranian boats to seize a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has threatened to retaliate for the seizure of one of its own tankers, but denies the British claim.
Three boats were harassing the tanker British Heritage and were trying to get the ship to stop in Iranian territorial waters, said the Ministry. The British frigate HMS Montrose, which was already shadowing the tanker, then came to its aid. The HMS Montrose aimed its guns on the Iranians and warned them to move away. The boats complied and no shots were fired.
British Boarded an Iranian Tanker a Week Before
The incident comes almost a week after the British Navy boarded an Iranian tanker, the Grace 1, in Gibraltar. They seized the ship because it was suspected of violating sanctions by bringing oil to Syria. Although denied by Iranian authorities, the attempted seizure seems to be a tit-for-tat response.
In June, two tankers in the Gulf were damaged by attacks on these ships, with still no clarity as to who's to blame. The American government holds Iran responsible for the incidents, but the country denies any interference.
Possible Dutch Frigate to Strait of Hormuz
The Dutch paper Volkskrant reported that the Americans have requested the Netherlands to send a frigate to the Strait of Hormuz to contribute to safe passage of merchant ships. The Dutch government is stil debating this request and will make a decision by mid-August.
Picture: The type 23 frigate HMS Montrose (by Defence Images).