Britain to deploy second warship to the Gulf amid tensions with Iran

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British warship HMS Duncan’s rotation into the Gulf was moved forward by a number of days as tensions with Iran mounted. (AFP)
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The aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln pulls alongside the fast combat support ship Arctic during a replenishment-at-sea in this May 19, 2019. The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is deployed to the US’s 5th Fleet area operations, which includes the Arabian Gulf. (Navy Office of Information/AFP)
Updated 13 July 2019
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Britain to deploy second warship to the Gulf amid tensions with Iran

  • Relations between Tehran and the West have been increasingly strained
  • Talks between Britain and the US on building up their military presence in the Gulf are ongoing

LONDON: Britain said on Friday it would deploy the destroyer HMS Duncan warship to the Gulf to replace HMS Montrose, maintaining a continuous presence there during a time of heightened tension in the region.

Relations between Tehran and the West have been increasingly strained after Britain seized an Iranian tanker in Gibraltar and London said HMS Montrose had to fend off Iranian vessels which sought to block a British-owned tanker passing through the Strait of Hormuz.

“As part of our long-standing presence in the Gulf, HMS Duncan is deploying to the region to ensure we maintain a continuous maritime security presence while HMS Montrose comes off task for pre-planned maintenance and crew change over,” the government said.

“This will ensure that the UK alongside international partners can continue to support freedom of navigation for vessels transiting through this vital shipping.”

Discussions between Britain and the United States on building up their military presence in the Gulf are ongoing, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokeswoman said on Friday amid tensions with Iran.

Britain is not seeking to escalate the situation with Iran, foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said on Friday, as tensions continue between London and Tehran over a seized Iranian tanker and the passage of vessels through the Strait of Hormuz.
"We are reacting to what is happening in a measured and careful way and we are being clear to Iran that we are not seeking to escalate this situation," Jeremy Hunt told Sky News.

Bahrain said on Friday it "strongly condemned" what it called an Iranian attempt to intercept a British tanker in the Gulf, according to a statement from its foreign ministry.
"This hostile action embodies Iran's insistence on threatening security and peace, and harming maritime navigation," the statement said.

Relations between Tehran and the West have been increasingly strained after Britain seized an Iranian tanker in Gibraltar and London said the British Heritage, operated by oil company BP, had been approached in the strait between Iran and the Arabian peninsula.
“We are talking to the US about building on our presence in the face of recent threats to shipping in the area,” May’s spokeswoman said on Friday.


Turkish steps up drilling activities around Cyprus

Updated 3 min 18 sec ago
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Turkish steps up drilling activities around Cyprus

  • The EU says Turkey is drilling in waters exclusive to EU member Cyprus and is therefore a breach of international law

NICOSIA: Turkey’s vice president says his country is stepping up a search for hydrocarbons off ethnically divided Cyprus with the dispatching of a survey vessel to join two drillships and another research craft operating in waters around the east Mediterranean island nation.
Fuat Oktay says Turkey will “never submit” to sanctions imposed by the European Union over its drilling and won’t hesitate to take additional steps in defense of its rights and those of breakaway Turkish Cypriots to the area’s energy reserves.
The EU says Turkey is drilling in waters exclusive to EU member Cyprus and is therefore a breach of international law.
Oktay was speaking at celebrations marking the 45th anniversary of the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus that followed a coup mounted by supporters of union with Greece.