Royal Navy's HMS Duncan arrives in Gulf to protect ships from Iran attack
A PORTSMOUTH-BASED Type 45 Destroyer has arrived in the Gulf to protect ships from attack from Iran.
The Royal Navy’s HMS Duncan will work with Type 23 Frigate HMS Montrose, until she comes off duty in late August, ensuring the continuous availability of ships to accompany merchant vessels through the Strait of Hormuz.
Last week the Government confirmed that the Royal Navy has been tasked to accompany British-flagged ships through the Strait, to provide reassurance to the shipping industry.
Commander Tom Trent, the Commanding Officer of HMS Duncan, said: ‘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.
‘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.’
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 Montrose covers an operating area of some 19,000 nautical miles. She has so far accompanied 35 merchant vessels through the Strait during 20 separate transits, travelling 6,200 nautical miles in the process.
Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps said: ‘The security of British-flagged ships is our priority, and we continue to work to de-escalate the situation with Iran following the unacceptable and illegal seizure of the Stena Impero.
‘Freedom of navigation is in the interest of every nation, which is why we have advised British-flagged ships that they will be provided with a military accompaniment to ensure the safety of trade in the region.’
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.