11th July 2019, 12:15
The Royal Navy thwarted an attempt by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on Wednesday night to seize a British tanker at the entrance to the Persian Gulf. This follows threats by Iran that it would retaliate if the UK didn’t release the Grace 1 currently in Gibraltar waters. The BBC reports that the UK has raised the threat to British shipping in Iranian Gulf waters to the highest level as a result.
Three Iranian patrol boats in the country’s waters ordered the British Heritage, a tanker owned by BP, to stop as it sailed toward the Strait of Hormuz. The Heritage had been on the Coast of Saudi Arabia since the weekend. The MoD has confirmed that the Royal Navy’s HMS Montrose, which had been stationed in the gulf to protect shipping, was escorting the Heritage, and issued a warning to the Iranian boats, who then withdrew after the Montrose’s guns were pointed at them.
Last week the 300 metre-long Grace 1 was detained in Gibraltar waters by local law enforcement agencies on suspicion of having breached EU sanctions, namely delivering crude oil to a refinery in Syria. Iran has disputed that Syria was the destination, but has not elaborated on what was.
A number of prominent Iranian figures, including President Hassan Rouhaniand Former special forces commander Mahsen Rezaei, have threatened the UK with retaliatory measures if the Grace 1 is not released.