Footage has emerged allegedly featuring Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) boats chasing away what is thought to be the Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer, HMS Duncan, in the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway linking Middle East crude producers to key world markets.
The low-quality video, whose authenticity has not been verified yet, shows a warship sailing in the distance while several small boats keep following it.
The exact date of the incident is unknown.
It is still unclear whether the warship in the clip is actually HMS Duncan, but the British destroyer did arrive in the Gulf in late July to join frigate HMS Montrose to escort vessels sailing under the British flag through the Strait of Hormuz.
Social media users have questioned the assumption that the vessel in question is HMS Duncan, and suggested, in turn, that it was a UAE Baynunah-class corvette.
This video, apparently shot from an IRGC boat has been doing the rounds.— NavyLookout (@NavyLookout) August 10, 2019
Claims of “harassing a British warship” are nonsense. This is not HMS Duncan or Montrose. All it shows is a boat struggling to keep up with a warship, almost certainly a UAE Baynunah class corvette https://t.co/mtdsX2tZuJ
That's not HMS Duncan. That ship looks totally different. pic.twitter.com/u4aCoW59ac— Hans de Vreij (@hdevreij) August 10, 2019
That is not a RN Type 45— Ian Blewett (@ian_blewett) August 10, 2019
I think I’m safe to say I reckon it could be a UAE Navy Baynunah-class corvette— British Defence Corrections (@GBdefcorrect) August 10, 2019
Size matches, hangar matches, mass on top of hangar could be the RAM. pic.twitter.com/5YHjWja1qU
The video emerged online amid escalating tensions between the United Kingdom and Iran following the IRGC's seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker, Stena Impero, last month over alleged violations of maritime rules and dangerous manoeuvres in the Strait of Hormuz.
The detention came a few weeks after Gibraltar's authorities seized an Iranian vessel, the Grace-1 oil supertanker, with assistance from UK Royal Marines, over a suspected crude oil delivery to Syria in breach of EU sanctions. Tehran has denied the allegations, and later said that the British tanker's seizure was not a retaliatory move.
In light of these incidents, the UK announced plans to put together a European-led maritime "protection mission" to police the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, while simultaneously agreeing to sign up for a similar US initiative against a purported Iranian threat.