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.