The UK is determined to ensure her shipping is protected from unlawful threats and for that reason we have today joined the new maritime security mission in the Gulf. Upholding international maritime law and freedom of passage is in all our interests,

...Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said.

The decision was announced during an international conference in Bahrain last week, on 31st July, where the UK agreed to join the international mission led by US to increase inter-state maritime cooperation.

Events in the Persian Gulf over the last four months, including attacks on four tankers off UAE, two subsequent attacks in Gulf of Oman and the seizure of the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero by Iranian authorities, have created disruption in the Strait of Hormuz, the busiest narrow shipping passage in the world, accounting for 20% of the world’s oil supply every year.

In this respect, the UK has also offered to lead one of the mission’s Maritime Task Groups. While exact operational details are being determined, the mission is intended to improve coordination between different countries’ militaries and commercial shipping.

This new coordinated effort will bolster the work the UK has already being undertaking in the region, including through HMS Duncan and HMS Montrose accompanying UK-flagged ships.

It is vital to secure the freedom for all international shipping to navigate the Strait of Hormuz without delay, given the increased threat. This deployment will reinforce security and provide reassurance for shipping. Our aim is to build the broadest international support to uphold freedom of navigation in the region, as protected under international law. Our approach to Iran hasn’t changed. We remain committed to working with Iran and our international partners to de-escalate the situation and maintain the nuclear deal,

...Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab noted.

Diplomatic tensions seem to escalate as Iranian forces seized another foreign tanker over alleged fuel smuggling in the region this week.