A SECOND warship has arrived in the Strait of Hormuz to protect British ships two weeks after an oil tanker was seized by Iranian forces.

The Ministry of Defence said the Royal Navy vessel HMS Duncan has now arrived in the Gulf to travel with ships flying under the British flag.

The Type 45 destroyer will join the frigate HMS Montrose amid growing tensions following the seizure of British-flagged tanker Stena Impero by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on July 19.

It was previously announced that British-flagged ships travelling in the Strait of Hormuz will be accompanied by a Royal Navy escort, with officials advising shipping companies to travel in convoy.

Stena Bulk, which owns the British-flagged tanker and is managed by Clydebank-based subsidiary Northern Marine Management, said embassy officials have met crew members from their respective countries. A statement from the company on Saturday said: “Stena Bulk and Northern Marine Management continue to work closely with the authorities to secure the release of the Stena Impero and its 23 crew members.

“Feedback from the officials is that the crew are in good health. They continue to have limited contact with family members, who we continue to support during this difficult time.”

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz is vital not just to the UK, but also our international partners and allies. Merchant ships must be free to travel lawfully and trade safely, anywhere in the world.

“While we continue to push for a diplomatic resolution that will make this possible again without military accompaniment, the Royal Navy will continue to provide a safeguard for UK vessels until this is the reality.”