UK contemplating choices over seized ship: minister

LONDON: London was contemplating a number of choices in response to Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged tanker, junior defence minister Tobias Ellwood mentioned Sunday.

Britain has mentioned its precedence is to de-escalate tensions with Iran within the Gulf, and has referred to as for the discharge of the Stena Impero oil tanker which was seized Friday in what Britain mentioned was an unlawful transfer in Omani waters.

“We’re going to be taking a look at a collection of choices,” Ellwood instructed Sky Information tv.

He denied Britain had been negligent in offering safety to its ships passing by way of the Gulf and mentioned the Royal Navy was too small to handle UK pursuits across the globe.

The frigate HMS Montrose was within the Gulf when it was seized.

Requested on Sky Information tv if Britain had taken its “eye off the ball”, Ellwood replied: “No, by no means.”

He mentioned British ships travelled by way of 100 nautical miles of waterway daily, including: “It’s inconceivable merely to escort every particular person vessel.”

Ellwood referred to as for extra money to be pumped into Britain’s defence forces to be higher ready to answer the vary of threats in opposition to UK pursuits.

Britain will get a brand new prime minister on Wednesday when both International Secretary Jeremy Hunt or his predecessor Boris Johnson takes over from Theresa Could.

Hunt, the son of an admiral, has mentioned he needs to extend defence spending from two % of GDP to 2.5 %.

“If we need to proceed enjoying a task on the worldwide stage — taking into consideration that threats are altering — all taking place simply beneath the edge of all-out conflict, then we should make investments extra in our defence, together with our Royal Navy,” mentioned Ellwood.

“Our Royal Navy is simply too small to handle our pursuits throughout the globe if that’s our future intentions and that’s one thing the following prime minister might want to recognise.”

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Press), 2019

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