The UK has raised the threat to British shipping in Iranian waters in the Gulf to the highest level – where the risk of attack is “critical”.
A security level of 3 is put in place when and where the risk of an attack on a UK ship is assessed to be critical, according to the International Ship and Port Facility (ISPS) security code. The threat level means British ships are advised not to enter Iranian waters
Britain is also sending the warship HMS Duncan to the Gulf to maintain the UK’s maritime security presence there, while another ship, the HMS Montrose — which was involved in the incident with Iranian ships on Wednesday — undergoes maintenance and a change of crew, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement Friday.
“This will ensure that the UK alongside international partners can continue to support freedom of navigation for vessels transiting through this vital shipping lane,” the statement added.
Britain is “not seeking to escalate the situation with Iran,” said UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt after the deployment was announced.
“None of us are looking for a conflict. And we all have a responsibility to protect shipping, this is a time for cool heads,” he said in a press briefing Friday.
“We want to do everything we can to make sure that we don’t have an unintended escalation which could be very dangerous to the world,” Hunt added.
Last week, British Royal Marines helped the authorities in Gibraltar seize an Iranian tanker because of evidence it was carrying oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions.