THE Royal Navy have brought forward plans to swap warships in the Gulf amid escalating tensions, according to reports.
The Portsmouth-based HMS Duncan, a Type 45 Destroyer, will relieve HMS Montrose in the region as Iran threatens to disrupt shipping, PA has reported.
HMS Montrose was called into action after three Iranian vessels attempted to stop a British commercial ship from travelling through the Strait of Hormuz earlier this week.
The move to send HMS Duncan to the Gulf
is understood to have been long-planned but was brought forward by a number of days.
The Ministry of Defence is yet to comment.
Tory leadership hopeful Jeremy Hunt has said tensions in the Gulf make the case for strengthening the Royal Navy.
The Foreign Secretary added that ‘we have run down the navy too much’ in recent decades.
Mr Hunt, the son of an admiral, promised to add more warships to the fleet if he entered Number 10.
His comments came after it emerged a Royal Navy warship drove off Iranian patrol boats as they attempted to impede the progress of a British tanker through the Strait of Hormuz.
Meanwhile police in Gibraltar have arrested the captain and chief officer of the Iranian supertanker detained last week in an operation involving British Royal Marines.
Mr Hunt, who has pledged to increase defence spending from 2 per cent of GDP to 2.5 per cent, at a cost of around £12 billion a year extra in 2023.