Nearly 90 British merchant ships were safely shepherded through the Strait of Hormuz by frigate HMS Montrose and destroyer HMS Duncan, say the Royal Navy.

Aside from the Stena Impero incident when the vessel was seized by Iranian forces, the MoD say that Montrose alone was responsible for ensuring 60 British ships – carrying more than five million tonnes of oil, liquid natural gas, cars and other commodities – reached their destinations safely.

The MoD also add that HMS Montrose and HMS Duncan found themselves spied on by drones and an Iranian patrol craft as the two warships accompanied tankers Hellespont Pride and Moonbeam and the container ship Brighton.

Commander Will King said in a release that the deployment had been “intense but also hugely rewarding. We have been probed by the Iranians daily – 115 interactions in all. The numbers – 38 transits of the strait, 60 British vessels accompanied, over five million tonnes of UK shipping protected – speak for themselves.”

“It’s a big ‘well done’ to HMS Duncan and HMS Montrose especially,” said Commodore Dean Bassett, UK Maritime Component Commander – the senior Royal Navy officer in the Middle East.

“Both have worked tirelessly, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in extremely hot and humid conditions, facing a high degree of threat, making sure British merchant shipping is safe. That they have done so is down to the quality of our men and women. The impact on the UK – and the world’s economy – if these six million tonnes had not got through doesn’t need underlining: about one third of the world’s natural gas and one sixth of the world’s oil pass through Hormuz.

Our response is a direct result to the threat from Iran. If Iran sticks to international law and stops it aggressive action, there is no need for warships to be here in force.”

HMS Duncan recently arrived, while Kent and Defender will arrive in the Gulf this month to support the maritime security operation ongoing in the region.

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Nick C

This is a very good illustration of why we need the T31’s as soon as possible, and preferably in greater numbers than appear to be planned.


Why is it an illustration? The t31 is directly replacing existing ships, no creating more. It illustrates why we need more numbers yes but not why we need the t31

Nick C

Steve. I think the point that I was trying to make, albeit perhaps badly, is that unless T31 comes when it is supposed to, far from replacing T23’s they may not get into service until after the scheduled out of service date of the ships they are intended to replace, so the available numbers will go down before they recover. The RN is in a bind purely of the politicians making.


It’s a fair concern, too much differing and too much talk about jobs in Scotland and not enough actual decisions getting made or money being spent to start production. Really no reason that it’s taking this long other than delaying the expenditure.


People may wish to belittle the RN, but it’s a credit to all involved as to the speed of which assets have been redeployed or are available for operations.

As it sits:

Type 23:
HMS Kent in transit.
HMS Montrose forward deployed.

Type 45:
HMS Duncan operating in the area.
HMS Defender redeployed from her Asia-Pacific deployment, has transited the Suez Canal.

Hunt class:

HMS Ledbury
HMS Brocklesby

Sandown class:

HMS Shoreham
HMS Blyth

Wave Knight
Cardigan Bay

Well done to all involved.


I don’t think anybody actually belittles the senior service, rather they bemoan the decisions made by the so called dishonourable ladies and gentlemen in Parliament which removes funding from the armed forces and instead divert it towards people and countries who actually hate us and everything we stand for.


Maybe, but judging by some of the comments on social media and within certain news reports, the current situation is entirely the fault of the senior service. I would place fault at HMG for not ensuring we have adequate funding and assets in place.


I mainstream media really is infuriating at times the quality of journalism these days really is primary school level at best.

Daniele Mandelli


For how long can this be kept up though? T31 desperately needed, and in greater numbers.


That really depends on two things: If it is deemed necessary by the powers that be to maintain such a presence, and secondly, what assets are in place to relieve those already in the area. Kent, for example, will be replacing Duncan. In terms of assets available, there’s only two other active type 45’s. Dragon is forming part of the Westlant 19 taskforce, so it’s unlikely she’ll be available. Diamond would be the next likely candidate, as she is currently undergoing light maintenance. Dauntless is in deep refit and Daring has been stripped of her weaponry. Type 23’s would be… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Agree. Though I’d bite the hand off for 8 if I’m honest. With 8 T26 and 6 T45.


Agree, though 12 would leave more room for ‘the rule of three’, would replace 23’s and the batch 3 22’s like-for-like and would restore the escort fleet to 26, or 31 if you want to include the B2 rivers post-upgunning. Though I feel that last point is not necessary.


Rule of 3 does not apply If you forward deploy. That’s why Montrose is in the Gulf.
When the planning started for forward deploying a T23 back in 2015 the big driver was for doing everything in Theater and not needing a replacement vessel to be in the UK working up or in transit to provide cover.
OK some of that planning has changed due to recent circumstances but the need for rule of three covering the Gulf has /was to disappear.


Aware, I was more generalising for other deployments.


It’s not just political. The fleet size is partially down to too much indecision and changes in requirements, lack of a clear joint up strategy, and stupid competition for resources across the three sizes that has meant that money has been used really poorly.


But the Iranians have already seized the ship they wanted! Why would they just keep taking british ships! They wouldn’t!!


They haven’t got what they wanted, they wanted a British crew. Iran will still want to ship oil to Syria. The UK controls a vital choke point where we could detain another Iranian vessel. Iran is demonstrating that they intend to react if we do. Looks like the tanker released by Gibraltar is heading to Syria anyway, so much for assurances that it wouldn’t.

Barry Larking

Agreed on every point. Do you think the Americans will allow this vessel to dock in Syria?

Barry Larking

The British ship is Swedish owed. The crew – to the obvious disappointment and increasing embarrassment of the oh so wily Iranians – is international, mostly Indian. The British part is a document at Lloyds and the flag on the back. A piece of cloth. They are a nuisance and noisy, but the best thing about the Iranians is their own sense of superiority. It’s their Achilles Heel. No, my own thoughts are not about numbers of R.N. vessels deployed or their availability. It is the striking absence of our N.A.T.O. and European partners in protecting an international water way.… Read more »

Geoffrey Hicking

“Germany can’t because she is still trying to rejoin the human race;”

What makes you think she hasn’t?


Well done to our Royal Navy,but even with the best case scenario there is no way that numbers available can be increased in even the medium term from new build. The only way is to use existing assets and these should include the OPV’s. Their armament could be quickly upgraded. It is never going to be to Warship standard but enough to give them reasonable self-defence capability. In addition they would be extra eyes and ears and an additional presence. Also, notwithstanding the lack of hangars, they can accommodate and deploy helicopters in the short term.