Britain has now changed its stance and started sending its own warship to guard and escort all British flagged vessels through the Strait of Hormuz. It has been reported that the frigate HMS Montrose would be escorting all ships that share their route details with the Department of Transport.
The development is a turnaround from a previous stance that Downing Street had taken when they had said they didn’t have enough resources to provide such protection on this most strategic business route on the sea. They had in fact asked ship owners to avoid the troubled route of the Strait of Hormuz as much as possible.
The current decision to provide a military escort to merchant shipping comes after a meeting of Downing Street’s emergency Cobra committee that discussed the situation in the Gulf.
“The Royal Navy has been tasked to accompany British-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz, either individually or in groups, should sufficient notice be given of their passage,” a government official confirmed to the media.
Until a day ago, the then Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt had told MPs that the United Kingdom would already on its way to creating a European-led mission to ensure the safe passage of international vessels in the Gulf.
The new scheme would have a mandate to ensure freedom of navigation of international ships, the Foreign Office had said.
But, while the mission would be implemented “as quickly as possible”, Hunt has reiterated aptly that this would not include the US as part of President Trump’s policy of “maximum pressure” on Tehran.
Even as Boris Johnson now holds office as Britain’s newly appointed MP, UK continues to hold the stance of ‘depressurizing the situation with Iran’.