politics

Iran made 'big mistake' in tanker attack that killed Brit, says UK forces chief


Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter told Tehran that Britain and allies were drawing up plans to prevent a repeat of the lethal assault

The Mercer Street, a Japanese-owned Liberian-flagged tanker managed by Israeli-owned Zodiac Maritime that was attacked off Oman coast (file photo)
The Mercer Street, a Japanese-owned Liberian-flagged tanker managed by Israeli-owned Zodiac Maritime that was attacked off Oman coast (file photo)

Iran made a “big mistake” in targeting an oil tanker with a drone strike that killed a British security guard, the head of the UK’s armed forces has warned.

Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter told Tehran that Britain and allies were drawing up plans to prevent a repeat of the lethal assault.

It could include deploying Royal Navy vessels to escort merchant vessels through dangerous waters.

“We will work out what the right solution to this is but what we need to be doing fundamentally is calling out Iran for its very reckless behaviour.

“They made a big mistake on the attack they did against the Mercer Street vessel last week, because that has very much internationalised the state of play in the Gulf,” he told the BBC.








Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter, issued a warning to Iran over the attack on the oil tanker
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Image:

PA)



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“We will work out with our allies what is the best way of providing protection. Convoys may not necessarily be the right method; we have used other methods.”

He added: “But ultimately, we have got to restore deterrence because it’s behaviour like that which leads to escalation and that could very easily lead to miscalculation, and that would be very disastrous for all the peoples of the Gulf and international community.”

The attack on the Liberian-flagged Mercer Street off the coast of Oman last week triggered fierce condemnation from the British Government, with Boris Johnson branding it “outrageous”.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab directly blamed Iran for the attack, in comments echoed by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

The Iranian ambassador was hauled into the Foreign Office for a dressing down by minister James Cleverly.

British Army veteran Adrian Underwood died alongside an unnamed Romanian national in the attack.

He was said to have been working in a security role for maritime firm Ambrey, based in Hereford.





A JustGiving page has been set up in the wake of his death, which has already raised more than £4,700.

It said: “In memory of Adrian Underwood, who sadly died when the ship that he was protecting was attacked.

“A humble gentleman, funny and loved by so many.”

The page said Mr Underwood was survived by his wife and “young son”.

It comes shortly after another incident in the waters around Oman, where hijackers were believed to have seized a vessel off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in the Gulf of Oman.

They subsequently appeared to have left the ship, with the Royal Navy’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) organisation reporting that the incident, which it had described as a “potential hijack” was “complete”.

“The vessel is safe,” the group said, without identifying the ship.









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