Panama registered Grace 1 tanker halted by Gibraltar police and a detachment of British Royal Marines in the Gibraltar Strait in the early hours of July 4, 2019. AFP

The British government said that three Iranian ships attempted to “impede the passage” of a British oil tanker in Gulf waters, forcing a UK frigate to intervene.

A British government statement on Thursday said of the incident, which occurred on Wednesday.

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“Contrary to international law, three Iranian vessels attempted to impede the passage of a commercial vessel, British Heritage, through the Strait of Hormuz,”

“HMS Montrose was forced to position herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels, which then turned away. We are concerned by this action and continue to urge the Iranian authorities to de-escalate the situation in the region,” the statement said.