The United Kingdom will send a third warship to the Gulf, though the move is not related to the current Iran crisis, the country’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.
The UK’s MoD said on Tuesday HMS Duncan, a type 45 frigate, is transiting to the region to ensure Britain maintains a continuous maritime security presence while HMS Montrose, a type 23 frigate, undertakes planned maintenance.
The UK has HMS Montrose permanently stationed in the Gulf, however the frigate will soon enter a Royal Navy base in Bahrain for around three or four weeks, in order to refuel and re-stock.
Later in the year, HMS Kent, another type 23 frigate, will deploy to the region, taking over from HMS Duncan. It said that support ship RFA Wave Knight will deploy to the Gulf at the start of August.
“These long-planned movements do not reflect an escalation in the UK posture in the region and are routine,” the MoD added.
Tensions have spiked since US President Donald Trump last year abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran under which Tehran had agreed to curtail its enrichment of uranium in return for the lifting of global sanctions crippling its economy.
Iran has also demanded the immediate release of its own oil tanker, captured off the coast of Gibraltar, warning the UK: “This is a dangerous game and has consequences.”
Meanwhile Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has vowed to add more warships to Britain’s fleet if he wins the Conservative leadership race and becomes prime minister next week.