London, July 26: The United Kingdom (UK) Royal Navy warship will be accompanying all British-flagged ships throughout the Strait of Hormuz, as per a newly changed policy in the midst of escalating tension in the Gulf region.
According to ANI news reports, tensions have risen between Britain and Iran since the Islamic Republic captured a British tanker, named as Stena Impero, along with its 23 crew members and 24 Indians in the Strait of Hormuz on last Friday.
The incident took place some two weeks after the UK forced seized an Iranian oil tanker besides British-controlled Gibraltar territory, accusing it of breaching the European Union (EU) sanction on Syria.
The UK government had already advised the British-flagged ships to avoid the Hormuz Strait where it was possible and to notify its navy if cross it, according to Al-Jazeera news reports.
A British vessel, HMS Montrose, will accompany the warships, a UK government spokesperson was quoted as saying.
In an official statement, the spokesperson said: “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,”
He added: “Freedom of navigation is crucial for the global trading system and world economy, and we will do all we can to defend.”
The UK has been seeking to utilize an EU-led maritime security mission in order to ensure the safe shipping through the GUlf after Iranian seizure of oil tankers, what London has called it as an act of “state piracy”.
Earlier on Monday, Jeremy Hunt, who was British foreign minister until Tuesday cabinet reshuffle, said it was “not possible for the Royal Navy to provide escorts for every single ship”.
A government official was quoted as saying the administration has been working on the changed policy for a few days.
The transport department has also adviced shipping entities to provide their travel plans’ sufficient notice in order to get protected by Britain.