London [UK], November 30 (ANI): The UK Defence Secretary announced the departure of HMS Diamond to join Operation Kipion, increasing the UK’s maritime presence in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean, a statement issued by the UK government read.
The HMS Diamond is the third type 45 Destroyer and one of the most advanced warships in the world, according to the Royal Navy website. The move will significantly bolster international efforts to protect maritime security in the region.
The deployment follows increasing concerns over maritime security at narrow sea trade routes worldwide, known as chokepoints. The ship is part of the UK’s commitment to supporting security in the region and the global maritime commons.
Operation Kipion is the UK’s long-standing maritime presence in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean. In addition to HMS Lancaster, a squadron of three mine-hunting vessels (HMS Bangor, HMS Chiddingfold, and HMS Middleton) and a Royal Fleet Auxiliary support ship (RFA Cardigan Bay) are also deployed as part of the operation, helping to keep the vital trade routes of the Middle East open for business, the official statement added.
Royal Navy vessels have been permanently deployed to the region since 1980 and have fallen under Operation Kipion since 2011. Under the command of the UK Maritime Component Command (UKMCC) in Bahrain, they work with allies and partners across the region, including under the Combined Maritime Forces partnership.
HMS Diamond is deploying with a Wildcat helicopter onboard, a highly capable aircraft which has been central to HMS Lancaster’s activities since its deployment in 2022, including when it seized substantial quantities of illegal drugs and intercepted weapons being smuggled in international waters.
The move has been influenced by the recent Israel-Hamas conflict that has ensued since the October 7 Hamas militant offensive into southern Israel.
UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said, “Recent events have proven how critical the Middle East remains to global security and stability.”
“From joint efforts to deter escalation, following the onset of the renewed conflict in Israel and Gaza, to now the unlawful and brazen seizure of MV Galaxy Leader by the Houthis in the Red Sea – it is critical that the UK bolsters our presence in the region, to keep Britain and our interests safe from a more volatile and contested world,” he said.
“Today’s deployment will strengthen the Royal Navy’s patrols, help to keep critical trade routes open and prove that our commitment to regional security not only endures but enhances. Her deployment follows increasing concerns over maritime security at narrow sea trade routes worldwide, known as chokepoints. The ship is part of the UK’s commitment to supporting security in the region and the global maritime commons,” Shapps said.
“The waters of the Gulf are vital routes for merchant shipping, including for tankers carrying much of the UK’s supply of liquefied natural gas. Around 50 large merchant ships each day pass through the Bab-el-Mandeb, connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, while around 115 major merchant ships pass through the Strait of Hormuz,” he said. (ANI)