HMS Diamond, one of Britain’s most sophisticated warships, was sent to the Gulf in the midst of the heating up of the Israel-Hamas war. Photo/BBC
LONDON – Britain sent one of its most sophisticated warships to the Gulf when the situation was heating up regarding the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, Palestine.
London argued that the presence of the warship HMS Diamond was to carry out operations to guarantee freedom of navigation, reassure merchant ships and ensure the safe flow of trade.
HMS Diamond is a Type 45 destroyer. The delivery of the warship was announced by the British Ministry of Defense on Thursday, the day before the Israel-Hamas war broke out again after the ceasefire ended on Friday (1/12/2023).
“It is vital for the UK to increase our presence in the region, to keep the UK and our interests safe in a more volatile and competitive world,” said Defense Minister Grant Shapps, as quoted by AFP.
The delivery of the warship HMS Diamond had been planned following the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas on October 7 and the seizure of an Israeli-linked cargo ship by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi group in the Red Sea on November 19.
The Houthi group has launched a series of drone and missile attacks targeting Israel since Hamas militants invaded Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people and kidnapping around 240.
The British Ministry of Defense said around 50 large merchant ships a day pass through Bab-el-Mandeb, the waterway connecting the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden, while around 115 large merchant ships pass through the Strait of Hormuz.
Gulf waters, the ministry said, are an important route for trade shipping, including for tankers that carry most of the UK’s liquefied natural gas supplies.
British Royal Navy ships have been permanently deployed to the region since 1980 and since 2011 have been under “Operation Kipion”, the name used for the UK’s maritime presence in the Gulf and Indian Ocean.
“Today’s deployment will strengthen UK Royal Navy patrols, help keep vital trade routes open and prove that our commitment to regional security is not only enduring but increasing,” Shapps said.
The HMS Diamond will join the frigate HMS Lancaster which was deployed to the region last year, as well as three minehunting vessels and a support ship.