Three Iranian vessels tried to block the passage of a BP-operated tanker through the Strait of Hormuz.
The effort was unsuccessful as a type 23 frigate HMS Montrose intervened by aiming its guns on the Iranian ships after issuing a verbal warning. In a statement issued by the British Ministry of Defence, the frigate “was forced to position itself” between the vessels and the oil tanker British Heritage.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May is concerned by Iran’s actions and is calling for a de-escalation of tensions, according to a spokesman.
This incident occurred days after a senior Iranian official warned that Britain would face repercussions for its detention of a very large crude carrier (VLCC), Grace 1, off the coast of Gibraltar. The VLCC was detained on suspicion of providing Iranian oil to Syria and in breach of EU sanctions.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has denied all allegations or responsibility for the incident. A Downing Street spokesman commented on the possibility of increased British military presence in the region in light of this incident. “We have a long-standing maritime presence in the Gulf. We’re continuously monitoring the security situation there and are committed to maintaining freedom of navigation in accordance with international law.”