The Sun: Navy chiefs have drawn up emergency plans to escort all British shipping in the Gulf to protect it from attack by Iran. The Sun
By TOM NEWTON DUNN
NAVY chiefs have drawn up emergency plans to escort all British shipping in the Gulf to protect it from attack by Iran.
Oil tankers and other merchant vessels will be assembled into convoys to sail under the protection of warships guns.
The plans follow two serious confrontations between Iranian gunboats and British and US naval ships.
Four of our frigates and destroyers are to be sent to the key Strait of Hormuz amid fears that commercial shipping will be targeted next.
The narrow chokepoint carrying oil from the Persian Gulf is the most vulnerable area for attacks or suicide rammings.
Three US ships almost opened fire there in January after being buzzed by Iranian boats.
The convoy plans have emerged from a huge naval rethink prompted by the kidnap of 15 sailors from HMS Cornwall last year.
A senior Navy source said: The plan involves lining UK shipping up in convoys and escorting it with a warship at the front and back and helicopter support above.
The Iranians are adopting swarm attack tactics in which heavily-armed speedboats rush out and surround ships from all sides.
Admirals have predicted a return to the Tanker War of the 1980s Iran-Iraq conflict if the Wests confrontation with Tehran over its nuclear ambitions worsens.