Posted on July 11, 2019
HMS Montrose positioned itself between the three boats and the tanker British Heritage before issuing verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels, he said. He described the Iranians’ actions as “contrary to international law”.
Iran had threatened to retaliate for the seizure of one of its own tankers, but denied any attempted seizure.
According to reports in US media, quoting US officials, boats believed to belong to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) approached the British Heritage tanker and tried to bring it to a halt as it was moving out of the Gulf into the Strait of Hormuz.
Guns on HMS Montrose, the British frigate escorting the tanker, were reportedly trained on the Iranian boats as they were ordered to back off. They heeded the warning and no shots were fired.
A UK government spokesman said: “Contrary to international law, three Iranian vessels attempted to impede the passage of a commercial vessel, British Heritage, through the Strait of Hormuz. “We are concerned by this action and continue to urge the Iranian authorities to de-escalate the situation in the region.”
Quoting the public relations office of the IRGC’s Navy, the Guards-linked Fars news agency said, in a tweet, the IRGC “denies claims by American sources” that it tried to seize HMS Montrose. Last week, British Royal Marines helped the authorities in Gibraltar seize an Iranian oil tanker because of evidence it was heading to Syria in breach of EU sanctions. In response, an Iranian official said a British oil tanker should be seized if its detained ship was not released.