UK to send third warship to Gulf amid escalating tensions with Iran
The UK is set to send another major warship to protect British commercial oil tankers in the Persian Gulf amid ongoing tensions with Iran.
The Ministry of Defense said Type 23 frigate HMS Kent would deploy to the Gulf later this year as part of Operation Kipion, the UK’s mission in the region, after days of threats to British shipping.
Destroyer HMS Duncan is currently en route to the Gulf, with her arrival expected by the beginning of next week.
Britain also has four minehunters in the region.
America has also bolstered its military presence in the region after Tehran lashed out at crippling sanctions as a result of the crumbling Iran deal.
The US sent thousands of additional troops, nuclear-capable B-52 bombers, and advanced fighter jets into the Mideast. Mysterious attacks on oil tankers and Iran shooting down a U.S. military surveillance drone has added to the fears of an armed conflict breaking out.
The US has suspicions that a Gulf oil tanker out of contact since it stopped transmitting its location on Saturday has been seized by Iran, a defense official has said.
It is not clear what happened to the Panamanian-flagged oil tanker – which is based in the United Arab Emirates – as it traveled through the Strait of Hormuz.
The US and its allies are discussing plans to provide naval escorts for oil tankers through the Gulf, a top US general said on Thursday, hours after three armed Iranian boats attempted to seize a British oil tanker.