The UK Ministry of Defence has announced that the destroyer HMS Defender will be joining other Royal Navy warships, the HMS Duncan, HMS Kent, and HMS Montrose, in their mission in the Persian Gulf. The quartet of naval vessels will be escorting UK-flagged ships in the region, according to the ministry.
The deployment comes as a part of London's participation in the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC), a US naval coalition that Washington claims is aimed at ensuring the security of shipping lanes in the Persian Gulf. London joined the IMSC along with Australia and Israel, while many other invited countries either ignored or turned down the offer.
The formation of the IMSC was announced by Washington in light of the seizure of a British-flagged tanker by Iranian authorities over alleged maritime violations. Tehran said that it would be investigating an incident where the UK-flagged vessel, the Stena Impero, had turned off its tracker device and collided with an Iranian fishing boat.
The seizure of the British ship came soon after authorities in Gibraltar detained an Iranian tanker following a US tip that it was carrying oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions. Tehran denied the American claims and slammed the seizure as an act of piracy. The ship was later released on 15 August after being detained for over a month.