Second UK Warship Escorts Merchant Vessels in Strait of Hormuz

HMS Duncan (file image courtesy Royal Navy)

Published Jul 29, 2019 1:47 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Royal Navy destroyer HMS Duncan has arrived in the Gulf to support the safe passage of British-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz.

Last week the British government confirmed that the Royal Navy has been tasked to accompany British-flagged ships through the Strait, to provide reassurance to the shipping industry.

Type 45 destroyer 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. HMS Montrose has so far accompanied 35 merchant vessels through the Strait in 20 separate transits, travelling 6,200 nautical miles in the process.

"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," said UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said. "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 Duncan is coming off of what commanding officer Cmdr. Tom Trent described as "an intense deployment in the Mediterranean and Black Sea," including support for a French carrier strike group with operations over Syria. 

Later this year, another Type 23 frigate, HMS Kent, will take over merchant vessel escort duties from HMS Duncan. HMS Montrose will remain stationed in the Middle East until 2022 as part of the Royal Navy’s permanent presence.

The UK has a long-standing maritime presence in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean. For almost 40 years, units of both the Royal Navy and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary have maintained a constant presence in the Gulf. The service maintains a permanent base in Bahrain.