Press TV – Britain’s defense minister says the country has dispatched a third warship to the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman waters amid rising tensions in the region.
Ben Wallace said on Saturday that HMS Defender, a type 45 frigate, was on its way to the Gulf of Oman in an alleged attempt to protect the freedom of navigation in the waterway.
“Wherever the red ensign flies around the world, the UK stands by to protect freedom of navigation whenever is it tested,” said Wallace.
The British Navy said that the warship sailed from Britain on August 12, alongside HMS Kent, which had been heading to the Persian Gulf to replace HMS Duncan. Other reports said the destroyer was being redirected from its mission to the Pacific.
The planned deployment comes amid rising tensions in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, where Iran, as the country with longest shores along the waterways, has been accusing Western governments of trying to destabilize the region through increased military activity.
Iran has repeatedly warned that increased military presence in the region led by the United States would only add to the tensions in the region.
The tensions escalated last month when Iranian military forces seized a Britain-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz due to illegal activity.
The seizure came after British navy forces boarded an Iran-linked supertanker which was carrying oil to a destination in the Mediterranean through the Strait of Gibraltar.
The tanker was released earlier this week after authorities said they had not sufficient evidence to substantiate claims that it was violating European Union sanctions on Syria.
Iranian authorities have indicated that the Britain-related tanker seized last month could be freed after due legal inquiry.