- Britain has announced plans to develop and deploy a Europe-led naval maritime protection mission to safeguard shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.
- This decision was taken after Iran had seized a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.UK has accused Iran for an act of state piracy that must be met with a coordinated international reaction.
- However,Iranian officials have said that the oil tanker was seized in response to Britain’s role in seizing an Iranian oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar.
- UK has also sought to put distance between Britain and the United States.It said that this planned European naval mission was not part of the U.S. policy of exerting maximum pressure on Iran.
- The Strait of Hormuz is a vital shipping route linking Middle East oil producers to markets in Asia, Europe, North America and beyond.It has been at the heart of regional tensions for decades.
- The waterway separates Iran and Oman linking the Gulf to the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.The Strait is 21 miles (33 km) wide at its narrowest point, but the shipping lane is just two miles (three km) wide in either direction.
- A fifth of global oil consumption passes through the Strait from Middle East crude producers to major markets.It is also the route used for nearly all the liquefied natural gas (LNG) produced by the world’s biggest LNG exporter,Qatar.
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