Over the past two days, British oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz and Persian Gulf have reportedly been spotted under escort by Royal Navy vessels. Although the reason for this has not been officially explained, the situation comes amid threats by Tehran to seize British ships in response to the arrest of its tanker in Gibraltar.
The UK Department for Transport has issued a recommendation to British commercial ships near the Strait of Hormuz to exercise caution and put their security in a heightened state in case they are approached by “aggressive” Iranian patrol boats, Sky News reported, citing anonymous sources.
Reuters has likewise reported, citing an anonymous UK security source, that the government has raised the security code to the highest, critical level for all British ships sailing in Iranian waters. The same source said that London would be “resolute” in defending its interests at sea, but noted that the country isn’t seeking an escalation of tensions with Iran.
A source in the shipping industry told the Sky News broadcaster that in line with the new recommendations, the vessels are now keeping more watchmen on deck and have increased their speed in order to “keep safe”.
A spokesman for the Department for Transport acknowledged that the government body issues guidelines for ships operating in high-risk areas, but stopped short of confirming the Sky News report.
At the same time, US Central Command…