The Royal Navy warship HMS Montrose has faced 115 confrontations with Iranian forces in the Gulf since the start of July, it was revealed on Monday night.
The hostile watercraft have tried to “intimidate” the Type 23 frigate and sent aggressive radio messages as it sought to discharge its duties escorting maritime trade through the disputed waters of the Strait of Hormuz.
The ship’s commander said Iranian personnel mocked the ship after she failed to prevent the seizing of the UK-flagged Stena Impero tanker six weeks ago.
Commander Will King, 41, told the Times newspaper the Iranian military had “heavily” tested HMS Montrose almost daily with fast attack craft and drones deployed as close as 200 metres to “intimidate” his ship. Tehran harboured “a continuous intent to disrupt or interfere with UK interests in the area”, he said.
Commodore Dean Bassett, the most senior Royal Navy officer in the Gulf, told the Times Britain is to increase its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in response to the constantly evolving nature of the hostile threats.
He said: “In the last couple of months we’ve seen a dramatic change to the security in the area.”
The 33-kilometre (22-mile) wide Strait of Hormuz provides the eastern entrance and exit point into the Gulf and runs between the United Arab Emirates and Iran.
One-fifth of all global crude exports passes through the narrow strait between Iran and Oman.