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Royal Navy warship halts attempt to seize British tanker in the Gulf

HMS Montrose at sea
11 July 2019
Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose has intervened in an attempt by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy to board and seize a British merchant vessel in the Gulf.

Three IRGC-N vessels ordered the MV British Heritage to stop, change course, and move into Iranian territorial waters before threatening to board it yesterday.

HMS Montrose, who had been carrying out routine patrols of the region, overheard the interaction and immediately moved into position to intervene.

The Plymouth-based Type 23 frigate issued several verbal warnings to the IRGC-N to stop harassing the vessel.

Her Wildcat helicopter, already airborne at the time conducting surveillance of the area, moved closer to provide reassurance to the MV British Heritage as she continued her passage.

The Commanding Officer of HMS Montrose, Commander Will King, said: “The Royal Navy continues to conduct maritime security operations in the Gulf, Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman.

"We are continuously monitoring the security situation there and are committed to maintaining freedom of navigation in accordance with international law.

"The Royal Navy will continue to deter illegal Iranian activity in the region and reassure the British maritime community."

We are committed to maintaining freedom of navigation in accordance with international law.

Commander Will King

The Strait of Hormuz is one of the most vital waterways in the world for international trade.

At its narrowest, the Strait – separating Asia from the Arabian Peninsula – is just 21 miles wide.

One third of all the world’s oil carried by tankers passes through the Strait of Hormuz with an average of ten tankers sailing through every day carrying upwards of 17 million barrels of oil.

In addition, around half the UK’s supply of liquefied natural gas has to pass through the strait on its way from Qatar to refineries and terminals in Britain.

The UK alone consumes more than 90 billion cubic metres of natural gas annually, with tankers typically carrying around 200,000 cubic metres in liquefied form.

HMS Montrose is stationed in Bahrain until 2022 to strengthen the Royal Navy’s permanent presence in the Middle East.

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