While Iran is upping its danger quotient by developing troubled relations with all its NATO partners, over the Strait of Hormuz, other nations like South Korea and Britain are more interested in taking steps to create a preventive net to safeguard trade over troubled waters. Media reports confirm that South Korea now plans to join a U.S.-led maritime force in the Middle East by sending a naval unit, which includes a destroyer, to help guard oil tankers sailing through the Strait of Hormuz.
In another move, Britain has also deployed one of their own to safeguard the movement of ships that hold a British flag through the same route. South Korea will send, it is confirmed through sources in the Defence Ministry an anti-piracy Cheonghae unit operating in waters off Somalia, possibly along with helicopters. Seoul’s defense ministry has further stated that the government was exploring measures to protect its ships in the area but no decision had been made.
The Cheonghae unit has been stationed in the Gulf of Aden since 2009. Its primary concern has to been to work on to tackle piracy in partnership with African countries as well as the United States and the European Union. It is a 302-strong unit that operates a 4,500-ton destroyer, a Lynx anti-submarine helicopter, and three-speed boats, according to South Korea’s 2018 defense white paper.
The increasing political tension between the US and Iran has left many nations to find ways and means to ensure the business can run smoothly in an extremely strategic international water route.