Iran bomb boat found ‘lying in wait for Brit warship HMS Duncan’ heading to Gulf to protect ships

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AN Iranian bomb boat was found in the path of a British warship racing to the Gulf amid rising tensions there, according to reports.

HMS Duncan could have been destroyed by the unmanned attack ship packed with explosives, the Mirror reports.

Press Association Images

HMS Duncan, a Type 45 Destroyer, heading to the Gulf as Iran threatens to disrupt shipping[/caption]

It was spotted by Saudi forces near to the destroyer’s route – currently heading to protect shipping in the Gulf.

The Mirror reports sources believe the armed ship, which can be steered remotely from four miles away, was sent out into the Red Sea by Iran’s Houthi allies before it was discovered.

Former naval officer Simon Warrington said: “The threat from the Houthis, who as Iran’s proxy militia do Tehran’s dirty work, is very real.”

The Royal Navy sent the ship out after Iranian troops tried to storm a BP oil tanker in a suspected revenge attack for the seizure of Grace 1 – an Iranian-owned oil tanker seized off Gibraltar by British Royal Marines earlier this month.

Last month Iran was accused of attacking tankers with mines, and it has said there would be “consequences” after Royal Marines boarded a supertanker suspected of taking crude oil to Syria.

HMS Duncan will patrol the busy shipping lane alongside HMS Montrose as all UK-flagged vessels were put on the highest security alert level over fears of further retaliation from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

The remote-controlled Blowfish in the defender’s path was found after Iran said Britain was “playing a dangerous game” and warned Western forces to “leave the area”.

Colonel Kemp, a former UK Armed Forces commander, had warned that while Grace 1 remained in custody in Gibraltar, Iran would continue to seek revenge and the Royal Navy needed to be prepared to respond.

In fresh threats, Iran’s Foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told state news agency IRNA: “This is a dangerous game and we advise them not get involved in this game under America’s influence.”

He added: “We ask them again to release the tanker immediately, which will be in all countries’ interest.”

On Saturday night HMS Duncan was approaching the Suez Canal before it begins a voyage across the Red Sea at 20 knots.

It will then head east through the Gulf of Aden towards Iran.

The MoD said: “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.

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

IRANIAN NUCLEAR DEAL

By Matt Dathan

JEREMY Hunt yesterday said the Iran nuclear deal is not yet dead — as he tried to salvage it.

The Foreign Secretary attended an emergency meeting of EU ministers  in Brussels after Tehran’s leaders breached an  agreed limit for low- enriched uranium.

He said the EU was committed to the 2015 deal, in which Iran agreed to limit nuclear activities in return for the dropping of sanctions.

Mr Hunt said there was “a small window to keep the deal alive”.

 

Last week three Iranian gun boats swarmed passing oil tanker British Heritage late on Wednesday in an illegal bid to force it into enemy waters.

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard tried to take control of the vessel as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz – sparking a tense standoff in the Persian Gulf, US officials revealed.

The Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose – which was escorting the tanker through the flashpoint region – was forced to sail in front of the boats.

HMS Duncan (D37) sails in the Bosphorus, on its way to the Mediterranean Sea, in Istanbul
Reuters

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