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Britain raises Gulf shipping threat level to highest possible

Britain raises its threat assessment to the highest level possible for ships operating in the Persian Gulf as tensions escalate in a region accounting for a third of seaborne petroleum trade.

Photo: Us Navy / Reuters / Ritzau Scanpix

The UK government designated the Persian Gulf region a level-3 risk on Tuesday, a day before British warship HMS Montrose had to stop Iranian vessels from impeding a BP Plc oil tanker as it exited the region, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Though Iran's attempts to block the passage of the British Heritage oil tanker were ultimately thwarted, they highlight a growing trend of disruptions to shipping in the area. Two tankers were sabotaged in the region last month, while four were struck in May. The situation is even more fraught for Britain after Royal Marines helped Gibraltar to seize a supertanker hauling Iranian crude in the Mediterranean Sea. Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps warned on Wednesday that it would "reciprocate."

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