The Mirror claims that an Iranian unmanned “bomb boat” has allegedly been spotted in the path of a British warship sailing to the Gulf to escort UK tankers amid concerns of Tehran’s possible retaliation to the seizure of an Iranian tanker earlier this month.
The UK tabloid quoted unnamed sources as saying that the Blowfish vessel, packed with explosives and deployed by Houthi fighters, was tracked by the Saudi Navy in the Red Sea, where the boat was lying in wait for Type 45 destroyer the HMS Duncan.
According to the sources, the explosives are enough to blow a hole in the hull of the destroyer.
They also claimed that the destroyer, which is expected to join the frigate HMS Montrose, will be at “action stations” as the vessel sails through the Suez Canal.
The reported detection of the Blowfish boat comes amid deteriorating relations between London and Tehran due to the seizure of the Iranian supertanker Grace 1 in Gibraltar on 4 June, described by Tehran as “pure piracy”, which “sets a dangerous precedent”.
London claims that the tanker was carrying Iranian oil to Syria in violation of European sanctions against the Arab country.
Tehran insists that the tanker was not headed for Syria and that the Syrian port mentioned by the UK as the tanker's destination would not be able to accommodate the vessel.
Responding to the UK already sending two warships to the Gulf to escort British tankers due to Iran’s possible retaliation, Tehran warned of looming consequences and underscored that the detention of the Iranian tanker by UK Marines won’t be left “unanswered”.
Earlier, the Islamic Republic called for the tanker to be immediately released, adding that the vessel’s seizure has endangered the safety of international shipping.