The British government announced Wednesday that the Royal Navy will provide escort for British-flagged ships traveling through the Strait of Hormuz after Iran seized a British-linked tanker.
The guidance issued by the British Ministry of Defense directs British-flagged ships to inform the Department of Transport prior to passing through the Strait of Hormuz to arrange a Royal Navy escort.
“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,” a representative for the government said.
Bob Sanguinetti, chief executive of the British Chamber of Shipping, said the move would provide “much needed safety and reassurance” to the shipping industry.
“Freedom of navigation is a fundamental principle of international maritime law,” he said.
The decision comes after the Iranian Revolutionary Guard seized the Swedish-owned and British-flagged Stena Impero in the strait last week, in what was perceived as retaliation for the British capture of the Iranian tanker Grace 1 in Gibraltar.
A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government was focused on securing the release of the tanker and its crew and “de-escalating current tensions” with Iran.
The ship’s owner Stena Bulk said the crew are safe and cooperating with