The UK Royal Navy’s Type 45 air-defence destroyer, HMS Duncan (D37) has arrived in the Gulf to support the safe passage of British-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz.
“HMS Duncan has arrived in the Strait of Hormuz to continue the outstanding work to protect British maritime interests conducted by HMS Montrose and the United Kingdom Maritime Component Commander’s staff in Bahrain. HMS Duncan has shown the true flexibility of the Royal Navy by moving at pace to this area of operations”. said Commander Tom Trent, the Commanding Officer of HMS Duncan.
“We have relocated from an intense deployment in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, which included support to the French carrier strike group with live operations in Syria. The Royal Navy continues to deliver consistent, enduring and world-class capability in the region – HMS Duncan is proud to support this vital operation and ready to play her part”, he added.
Last week the UK Government confirmed that the Royal Navy has been tasked to accompany British-flagged ships through the Strait, to provide reassurance to the shipping industry. The announcement followed the seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker, named Stena Impero, by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
“Freedom of navigation is crucial for the global trading system and world economy, and the Government has committed to doing all it can to defend it”, said a Navy statement.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz is vital not just to the UK, but also our international partners and allies. Merchant ships must be free to travel lawfully and trade safely, anywhere in the world. I’m pleased that HMS Duncan will continue HMS Montrose’s fine work in helping to secure this essential route. While we continue to push for a diplomatic resolution that will make this possible again without military accompaniment, the Royal Navy will continue to provide a safeguard for UK vessels until this is the reality.”
HMS Duncan will work with Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose (F236) until she comes off duty in late August, ensuring the continuous availability of ships to accompany merchant vessels. HMS Montrose covers an operating area of some 19,000 nautical miles, and has so far accompanied 35 merchant vessels through the Strait during 20 separate transits, travelling 6,200 nautical miles in the process.
Later in the year, another Type 23 Frigate, HMS Kent, will take over this tasking from HMS Duncan. HMS Montrose will remain stationed in the Middle East until 2022 as part of the Royal Navy’s permanent presence in the Middle East.
The UK has a long-standing maritime presence in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean. For almost 40 years, units of both the Royal Navy and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary have maintained a constant presence in the Gulf. Operation Kipion is the operational name for UK forces in the region.